Six Portland grocery stores form union

Six Portland, Oregon, New Seasons grocery stores voted to form a new union seven months ago called the New Seasons Labor Union. 

The union’s first action, Feb. 3, 4 and 5, was to rally and picket in front of the six stores to raise community awareness about management’s new policy to remove COVID-19 sick leave.

The union has begun bargaining with management over the new policy which has eliminated workers’ paid time off for absence from COVID-19. Now, if workers don’t have enough paid sick leave to cover an absence due to COVID-19, they could face a penalty for missing work.

A lead cashier for 17 years at one New Seasons location noted that workers, who have used their paid time off, have to quarantine without pay or face attendance consequences. 

Now workers who get COVID-19 must decide whether to stay home and lose money by quarantining or show up for work at the risk of exposing co-workers.

— Story and photo by Lyn Neeley

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