RICHLAND, Wash. — “It’s a big win for us,” Richland Fred Meyer worker Brandyn Farrell-Parker said they’re one step closer to unionizing.
Farrell-Parker is the E-Commerce Lead at the Richland Fred Meyer, he said the effort to unionize started around three years ago.
“It tapered off, it re-snowballed, COVID really exasperated everything,” he said.
Brandyn has been a part of the group working out the details for collective bargaining as a part of UFCW 3000. During the pandemic, he said Fred Meyer started Hero Pay: a two-dollar an hour bonus for workers, but it only lasted a couple months.
“They were saying we weren’t profitable and we weren’t worth giving the extra money to, so unionizing was an opportunity to have our voices heard not only on pay but other important issues in our store,” he said.
Then, on February 7th, two people were shot inside Brandyn’s store; one was killed and the other was critically injured.
Brandyn said since then, safety has been on the forefront of all of his co-workers’ minds.
“Kroger has zero policy on how they maintain security and who they use for security, let alone the type of training they offer for associates in store,” he said.
Brandyn said in the tentative union agreement, there would be mandatory training for emergency situations and a better pathway for safety concerns to be met.
Also in the agreement, more affordable healthcare, better 401(K) matching and job stability.
“It’s all important, because it gives us job security so management can’t just come in and fire us, the union has a process that, holds management accountable for what they do,” Brandyn said.
Workers will vote this Friday, Brandyn said he hopes his co-workers get involved.
“Regardless of whether or not they vote yes, I want them there, I want them to take the opportunity to see what’s going to affect their lives,” he said.
The jewelry and pharmacy departments at Fred Meyer in Richland will be excluded from the union.
KAPP KVEW reached out to Fred Meyer and hasn’t yet heard back.
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