Not quite the latest news

Fellow union sibs and cousins, this is a challenging column to write, because there has been so much news since the last Labor Press and yet, this will arrive in your mailbox after arguably the most important news for 20k+ of you: ratification status of the current tentative agreement. Please keep your eyes and ears open at work, on social media, and via your email to learn whether you’ve collectively ratified this new, fully recommended settlement: we should know by Saturday, October the 12th.

So, instead of giving you the news we don’t have yet, let’s recap the weeks since the September paper.

Labor Day picnics across Oregon and SW Washington were joyous, rowdy affairs, with all of us celebrating our solidarity and past successes while prepping for whatever actions might or might not become necessary during current negotiations. Please see this paper’s insert for
some related pictures.

After the August 29th negotiation session (the twelfth such session since Unity Negotiations began in the summer of 2018), we canceled all Kroger contract extensions across the state, opening up the option for taking action. We did this due to Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs) that were widely reported after the contract extension cancellations of CCK department members the month before.

Speaking of ULPs, we did our due diligence, researched the necessary documentation, and submitted them to the NLRB for review.

We held picket captain training meetings across the jurisdiction, making sure strike/picket captains knew what they needed to know and were prepared for the possibility of a strike, should future negotiations not conclude satisfactorily.

Employers finally responded to our requests for September dates, selecting the 26th and 27th.

On September 22nd (after the waiting period of a cancellation of contract extensions had ended), we officially called for a boycott of all Fred Meyer departments without a contract. Community support was unwavering, the media was on fire, and the collective response was fierce and immediate. It was a true test of our solidarity and the extended solidarity of our customers and we learned that we were right: our communities care deeply about us and want to see us with a fair contract.

September 26th and 27th saw the Unity Negotiation Team deep in talks with the employers for the thirteenth time—this time, alongside the federal mediator we requested. After negotiation throughout the night and into the early morning of the 28th, a tentative agreement was reached. We announced the TA within the hour, and began setting up ratification meetings with a goal of ratifying as quickly as possible so as to get new contracts into place near-immediately.

35 ratification meeting locations/times/dates were locked in by October 1st/2nd and announced across all platforms. At the time of writing this column, the first meeting to discuss the fully recommended settlement had just begun.

And, in this column’s future and your recent past—most likely on Saturday, October 12th— the results of this ratification vote will be announced. We’ll discuss those results in November’s paper.

In solidarity,