Fred Meyer workers at Richland location file to unionize
RICHLAND, Wash. — Staff members at one Tri-Cities location of the northwest superstore chain Fred Meyer have moved to unionize in light of inconsistent scheduling and low wages at their workplace.
According to a press release issued by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1439 group, this will become the first time that grocery store workers in Eastern Washington will join a union by election in recent memory. Approximately 250 workers will become represented by the union once cleared by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Hardships imposed by the pandemic accelerated difficult labor conditions for many Fred Meyer workers at the Richland location and beyond. By unionizing, employees like Melissa Lozano hope to make their voices heard and improve the conditions of their employment.
The company blames the labor shortage, but they never talk about what they could do to make these jobs better,” Lozano said. “My daughter started staying home alone when she was still in elementary school because I couldn’t afford childcare on Kroger wage.”
With fluctuating schedules and low wages, many workers are forced to take extreme measures to support themselves and their families. While some must work second jobs, others must use food stamps in order to make ends meet. Additionally, some employees are unhappy with Kroger’s medical plan, which features deductibles so high that they are better off on state-subsidized insurance plans.
“We hope Kroger will let their associates make their own choice about representation,” says Jeff Hofstader, Secretary-Treasurer of UFCW 1439.
KAPP KVEW has reached out to Fred Meyer for a statement. We are currently awaiting a response.
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