September 3, 2009 in Business

Union to stop telling shoppers to avoid Fred Meyer

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The United Food & Commercial Workers will stop advising consumers to shop at competing stores while a Fred Meyer complaint against other negative union publicity proceeds through arbitration.

Meanwhile, negotiations will continue on the union’s central complaint against the Portland-based chain: its policy of dismissing workers for a single error handling money.

Lawyers for UFCW Local 1439 and Fred Meyer haggled for more than an hour Thursday morning outside the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Robert Whaley before the labor group agreed to delete from its advertisements a plea that consumers shop at other stores.

The UFCW has run radio and television ads, posted yard signs, and circulated fliers for almost a year as it pressured Albertsons, Safeway and Fred Meyer for pay increases and “progressive discipline” for workers who make mistakes with money, such as inadvertently handing a check back to the customer.

Albertsons and Safeway settled with the union in May. The other major local grocery chain, Rosauers, agreed to a new contract last fall.

Fred Meyer has refused to yield on its discipline policy, which has cost 10 workers their jobs in recent years.

Last month, the company asked Whaley to stop a publicity campaign that allegedly violates its contract with Local 1439. Thursday’s agreement allows the advertising to continue – without the request shoppers go elsewhere – until arbitrators decide if the activity violates the contract.

Whaley set aside the complaint until Dec. 11, when a follow-up hearing will be held to review the progress made in arbitration.


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