- PCC Community Markets has reached a tentative agreement on the terms of a new contract with United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 3000.
- Workers will vote on the deal, which the union said includes the “largest wage increases ever at PCC,” on Tuesday.
- The pact comes during a tumultuous period for the Seattle-based grocery cooperative, which has been looking to steady its operations and had three CEOs in less than four years.
The arrangement between PCC and the UFCW positions the two sides to reset a rancorous relationship that has seen the union exert pressure on the grocer to provide better pay.
The deal avoids a potential walkout by the workers, who voted last Friday to turn down a previous contract offer from PCC and authorize a strike.
In a Wednesday statement, the union said its bargaining committee is recommending that workers vote in favor of the new contract, which it said would provide a pay package that “will put us ahead of every other grocery store in the region, recognizing our hard work and expertise.”
According to the union, PCC’s workers would see a range of improvements to their working conditions under the terms of the new contract. In addition to unspecified wage increases and additional rest between shifts, the deal would allow workers for the 15-store chain to hold onto their “high road healthcare plan,” give them more schedule flexibility, provide funds for future training programs and keep the company’s meat apprenticeship program in place.
The deal would also establish a worker committee to discuss profit sharing and “gain greater insight into PCC financials,” the union said.
A PCC spokesperson said in an email that the cooperative would not comment on the deal until after the vote.
While the union did not disclose details about the pay increases it had secured, it said in a Jan. 25 statement that it was dissatisfied with an earlier offer from PCC that would have provided a 10-cent increase for most workers and 20-cent boost for meat workers “at the top of our scales.”
“PCC has historically led the grocery store industry and now they have fallen far behind. PCC is behind Town and Country, Saar’s, Safeway, and every other union grocery store in this region,” UFCW Local 3000 said, urging workers to reject that offer.
UFCW 3000 also said that PCC mismanaged its money. “PCC has spent money in ways that did not benefit workers or improve the customer experience, over the objections of workers and our union. Now, after years of poor executive decision-making, PCC wants to balance their books on the backs of workers,” the union said in its statement last week.
PCC’s agreement to raise pay follows the company’s announcement last November that it had decided to close its store in downtown Seattle because it was unprofitable and threatened the retailer’s ability to continue operating. “Since continued losses pose a significant financial risk to our co-op’s long-term viability, we are acting now,” CEO Krish Srinivasan said in a statement about the closure, which was effective Wednesday.