Bargaining Update October 2023

On October 24th and 25th, NSLU’s all-worker bargaining team met with the company for a second round of in-person bargaining. No tentative agreements were reached, but the company moved from its entrenched position on the attendance policy, and submitted counter-offers on a grievance procedure, stewards rights, and strike/lockout clauses.


Attendance Movement

Although no firm agreement has been reached, New Seasons seems to have capitulated on tardies - moving the line back to 10 minutes late, closer to being in-line with industry standards. The company also seems amicable to consecutive days absent being counted as one - a pre-covid standard.  Importantly, the company was open to our reasoning on permitting employees on attendance probation to apply for transfers. Under the current system, chronic transportation issues can block workers from transferring to stores within walking distance of their homes. However, New Seasons is still far away from our position on how much attendance trouble should be grounds for termination.


Exceptions Proposed

The NSLU bargaining team is firmly asserting that the following circumstances  should be cause for exception from the attendance policy, with supporting documentation:


  • Covid-related absences
  • School closures
  • Veterinary emergencies
  • Transportation emergencies (flight cancellations, trimet disruption etc)


Contract Enforceable

NSLU also extracted movement from New Seasons on the grievance procedure. The company is amicable to allowing federally-provided mediation when accused of violating the contract. These services are funded federally and may significantly reduce the cost of contract enforcement. New Seasons also proposed reducing its list of immediate discharge grounds -  usually referred to as “cardinal sins” in labor law, however the company’s list is still substandard.


Right to Strike on Chopping Block

New Seasons has proposed a no-strike clause, which would block the legal right of workers under the agreement to strike for the duration of the collective bargaining agreement. This comes as part of its package deal on granting authority to shop stewards to enforce the contract. We still need a lot more from the company in order to concede on strikes.

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