It’s a Statement of Principles!

New Seasons Market has an iconic presence in Portland, Oregon. Since the company first opened its doors in 1999, they have built a powerful brand around the idea of being “the ultimate neighborhood grocery store.” The company claims to value things like community, sustainability and progressive values.

However, workers at the company tell a different story.

“The company portrays themselves as progressive and socially conscious. In their marketing, they use workers, and their ethical treatment of workers, as a reason why people should shop there. It is disingenuous and very inconsistent with the reality of things.” Vesta McGee, Slabtown

Over the summer, New Seasons workers started a dialogue about the disconnect between the company’s branding and the reality inside the stores. Workers raised a wide array of concerns — low pay, chronic understaffing, safety hazards, favoritism and more.

The “discovery” process involved a lot of flip charts like this one!

Mapping out these issues inspired workers to take action to address them, so they formed New Seasons Workers United (NSWU).

NSWU is a group of hundreds of New Seasons workers who have come together to hold the company accountable to its founding values. With support from UFCW Local 555, community organizations and allies, NSWU continues to build upon a history of worker-led initiatives to improve working conditions at the stores.

Hundreds of workers participated in creating the Statement of Principles — a collaboratively written document that reflects the shared values of NSWU and the changes workers would like to make at the company.

Workers began reaching out to their coworkers and collecting signatures on the Statement of Principles so that they could speak up in solidarity. Workers intended to send a clear message to New Seasons Market and CEO Wendy Collie: by standing together, workers can ensure they have a voice in the future of this company.

“My coworkers are why I go to work every day. Our work is what makes this company profitable. Our presence is what makes it ‘The Friendliest Store in Town.’ We deserve a seat at the table. Our organization is what will get us there.” David Adams, Seven Corners Store

Join the conversation! Are you a New Seasons Worker? Let us know what you think! Are you an ally looking for ways to support New Seasons workers? Get in touch here. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook!