New Seasons Workers: Looking to Unionize

               ‘New Seasons’ is a chain of privately owned grocery stores operating in the greater Portland area in Oregon. Recently, New Seasons has been expanding and opening new stores, in every step of its expansion, New Seasons has faced severe backlash from local UFCW unions.

               In an article published in Supermarket News, entitled, New Seasons workers, citing health coverage, look to unionize, they reported that the UFCW Local 21 has led a campaign against the company. When New Seasons opened up a new store on Mercer Island, UFCW 21 hosted an "unwelcome ceremony" for the new store. New Seasons claims to treat its employees better than others in the industry. However, the company previously offered health insurance to all working and with the expansion has been rolling back its health coverage.

               Now as a result, New Seasons' Portland locations want to unionize. With the support of a UFCW local, Portland New Seasons workers publicized their effort last week. The primary concern of workers at the chain has been a change in the health insurance policy. While New Seasons at one time had made health insurance available for almost all workers, in January, only workers who work 24 hours a week or more will be eligible for insurance, according to the report. Workers are also concerned about the company’s attendance policy and about what they describe as a lack of transparency at the chain, according to The Oregonian.

               The employees of New Seasons are seeking the help of local unions to fight for the basic working rights they deserve. Even with a company known for its ‘progressive’ stance on employment issues, without a union, the workers are at the mercy of their employer who has the right to take away the benefits once provided, just as New Seasons has done.