Workers in grocery stores of Oregon and Southwest Washington join Portland employees to authorize strike against low pay and pay gap between men and women



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Workers from the grocery stores of Oregon and Southwest Local 555 United Food and Commercial Workers voted on behalf of more than 20,000 workers to approve a strike in local stores Fred Meyer, Albertsons, Safeway and QFC for low wages and an assumed pay gap between men and women.

The votes add to the 10,000 or so employees of the UFCW Local 555 Portland-area grocery stores that last month authorized a strike. But no strike will be called unless the union officially calls one.

The union says that Fred Meyer employees are more likely to be placed in management positions, but earn less per hour than men in the same roles. He also states that women are placed on lower salary scales.

Kelley McAllister, a spokeswoman for the union, said the start of a strike was not yet clear. A union bargaining team plans to meet with business leaders on Thursday for a bargaining session, after which union members will announce a strike schedule.

"We need a radical change in the perception of the importance of our workers," said Dan Clay, president of UFCW Local 555, in a statement. "None of these stores could stay open, let alone make money for leaders and shareholders, without the proud members of our union who work tirelessly to get everything up and running – they are valued members of our community, and they should: be paid as such. "

18 lawmakers from Oregon – including Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland), House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) and Rep. Rob Nosse (D-Portland) – issued statements favorable to the wage protest of UFCW Local 555.

"I am proud to support the dedicated employees of grocery stores who strive for fair wages and respect in the workplace," Kotek said in a statement. "Albertsons, Fred Meyer and Safeway need to do better."

Jeffery Temple, spokesman for Fred Meyer, denies the allegation that female employees are paid less than men.

"Recent statements about an alleged gender-based pay gap between women and men working at Fred Meyer are simply not true," Temple said in a statement. "We consider them an unfortunate false statement of our associates".

Temple acknowledged that some of Fred Meyer's jobs are more remunerative than others because of "type of work and hours of work requirements", but that society wants "women to apply for this type of work". employment and we are not channeling workers to any type of employment their gender. "

"Each employee of the same type of employment, whether it is a woman or a man, is remunerated equally on the basis of the wage increases negotiated for him. by the union, "said Temple.

A spokesman for Albertsons, owner of Safeway, did not immediately respond to WW's request for comment.

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