Workers at Fred Meyer and Quality Food Centers stores across Oregon are back on the job Saturday after the workers’ union reached a settlement with the grocery chains, ending a strike.
The workers began a weeklong strike Friday morning, alleging the grocery chains were unlawfully withholding key information at the bargaining table. But by late Friday, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 announced a tentative agreement and called off the strike.
“We are pleased that Fred Meyer and QFC have recognized the ongoing hazard to its workers, with a settlement agreement that provides significant wage increases, added workplace protections, a secure retirement, and quality healthcare,” the union said in a statement late Friday.
Fred Meyer and QFC said Saturday that all their stores are staffed, stocked and open for business.
“We are so grateful to our Fred Meyer and QFC associates for everything they do for our customers and our community. That’s why we’ve invested in their wages, healthcare, and retirement,” Dennis Gibson, president of Fred Meyer, said in a statement. “We will continue to do everything we can to balance investments in wages and overall well-being while keeping food affordable for our customers. We remain committed to our people and our Oregon community.”
The two sides have been negotiating new contracts since July, according to the union, which is representing 7,000 workers at the bargaining table. The contracts expired in August.
The union said specifics about the tentative agreement would not be disclosed publicly until members are able to review and vote on it.
“We want to thank all of our community friends and allies for standing with essential workers at a critical time in their lives,” the union said. “This agreement, if ratified, will positively impact the amazing members of UFCW Local 555 and their families.”
The strike had been scheduled to continue until Dec. 24, squeezing the grocery chains through the end of the year’s busiest shopping season. Picketing workers gathered Friday at multiple Portland stores, including the popular Hollywood and Hawthorne neighborhood Fred Meyer locations.
Miles Eshaia, a spokesperson for the union, previously told The Oregonian/OregonLive he expected thousands of workers to picket Friday outside Fred Meyer and QFC stores in the Portland area, Newberg, Bend and Klamath Falls.
— The Oregonian/OregonLive