Workers for PCC Community Markets have ratified a new labor agreement between the grocery cooperative and their union, ending months of tension between the two sides that included the threat of a strike.
The Seattle-based grocer’s contract with United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 3000 “is the most substantial in PCC’s four-decade history of collective bargaining with the union” and took over eight months to negotiate, PCC CEO and President Krish Srinivasan said in a letter to members and shoppers released last Thursday.
The union announced late last month that it had reached a tentative deal with PCC and recommended that employees vote in favor of the accord.
Srinivasan said the deal makes its workers “among the best paid grocery workers in the region” and provides a benefits package that “will continue to be among the strongest in the industry.”
PCC workers will also have a larger role in governing the 15-store chain than they had previously, including the right to nominate two staff members to serve on the retailer’s board of trustees. In addition, PCC and UFCW Local 3000 have formed a committee to suggest ideas to “enhance the co-op’s strategic direction as well as our mission regarding people, planet and profit,” Srinivasan said.
Srinivasan noted that while PCC is “extremely happy to implement a union contract that reflects our values, holds us to the highest standards possible and moves the co-op forward,” the talks with the union had distracted it from focusing on its fiscal health.
PCC has struggled to generate a profit during the past three years and began a multiyear process designed to restore its financial strength more than a year ago, Srinivasan said, adding that the grocery chain will be able to “commit fully” to that effort now that the contract is in place.
Srinivasan added that PCC had wanted to be more transparent about its talks with the union but concluded that it had to keep details about the negotiations private while they were underway.
“I certainly wish that we could have shared more details about our progress along the way, but in the spirit of collaborating with union leadership, bargaining in good faith, and respecting the overall integrity of the process, I hope you can understand that it would have been inappropriate for us to do so,” he said.