On Dec. 6, approximately 250 grocery workers at Fred Meyer in Richland, Wash., joined UFCW Local 1439, marking the first time in recent history that an entire store of grocery workers in the state have done so.
With the NLRB’s tally of mail-in ballots now complete, the UFCW Local 1439 victory for Fred Meyer grocery workers in Richland now paves the way for these new members of our union family to move forward in negotiating their first union contract to strengthen pay, benefits, and working conditions.
UFCW Local 1439 confirmed that in the run up to the Fred Meyer union election in Richland, workers consistently called on Kroger, Fred Meyer’s parent company, to do more to create quality jobs, address high turnover, and implement more consistent schedules. Instead, Kroger responded by holding union-busting meetings on paid time, increasing management presence in the store with managers coming in from across the state, and surveilling workers who engaged in union activities.
Workers will now sit down with Kroger management to bargain their first union contract.
“This is an unprecedented victory, inspired by the sacrifices of essential grocery workers during the pandemic,” said UFCW Local 1439 Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Hofstader. “We hope this inspires other grocery workers to stand up and exercise their rights.”
“I’m so proud of myself and my coworkers,” said Fred Meyer Richland Grocery Cashier Roxanne Reynolds. “I support the union because employees need a way to hold Kroger accountable to their promises.”
“After working through a pandemic while struggling with understaffing and being paid less than other retail and grocery workers, I think it’s disrespectful that Kroger decided to try to scare us out of forming a union instead of respecting our decision,” said Fred Meyer Richland Dairy Clerk Jeremy Brewer. “Instead of addressing our concerns, my managers constantly tried to pressure us to vote against our own best interest. That’s not right.”