The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555, representing many employees at Fred Meyer and Quality Food Centers stores, says the new agreement provides significant wage increases and workplace protections, new retirement and healthcare benefits.
The union has been in negotiations for months with the Kroger-owned supermarket chains. Last weekend, UFCW announced its members had authorized a strike, which began Friday morning at stores in Portland, Bend, Newberg and Klamath Falls.
After the strike authorization, at least one Fred Meyer store posted a sign saying it was seeking temporary workers willing to cross picket lines.
Prior to reaching a tentative agreement, union representatives said that Fred Meyer has been underpaying certain workers in violation of contract terms. A UFCW spokesperson has also said the grocery chain hasn’t been providing necessary information to the union to refute or verify its concern, or to address it through the grievance process.
The UFCW said this inadequate pay and lack of documentation constitute unfair labor practices — and it’s on the basis of these unfair labor allegations that the UFCW had been preparing to strike.
A spokesperson for Fred Meyer has said the company is following, and plans to continue to follow, applicable labor laws.