After two days of bargaining that lasted through the night on Friday, a regional grocery workers’ union and four grocery stores reached a tentative agreement around 9 a.m. Saturday.
The tentative agreement heads off a potential strike at Fred Meyer, one of the stores involved in the negotiations, as well as ends a week-long customer boycott of the store requested by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555.
“We are now asking all of our supporters to cease the boycott and resume their normal shopping habits, including shopping at Fred Meyer,” the union said in a Saturday afternoon press release.
The tentative agreement covers about 18,000 grocery workers at Fred Meyer, QFC, Albertsons and Safeway in Oregon and Southwest Washington. About 600 of those employees work in the Kelso-Longview area.
The details of the agreement are embargoed until union members review and vote on the contract, according to the union news release. Union officials will send out dates, times and locations for the vote over the next few days, the release says.
“Our bargaining team is happy to report that we were successful in addressing all of our concerns,” the union said.
Representatives with the stores could not be reached for comment Saturday.
UFCW 555 and the four stores were involved in nearly 15 months of “unity” contract negotiations. The two sides had argued over wage offers, and the union had demanded the companies solve what it considered a gender pay gap.
The union was particularly upset with Fred Meyer, which union officials accused of using intimidation in response to the union’s decision to cancel its contracts with the store.
UFCW 555 filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board earlier this month. The status of the investigation was unavailable Saturday.
The union was poised to strike at Fred Meyer after canceling its contracts with the store and passing a near unanimous strike authorization vote.
Last week the union asked customers to boycott Fred Meyer as the “first economic action taken by the union” in response to the “unfair labor practices” and the company’s refusal to response to union contract proposals, the union said.
“Our boycott against Fred Meyer was highly effective, due to your hard work in building relationships with your communities, who stood strong and proud with us!” the union posted on Facebook Saturday. “The boycott has ended, effective immediately.”