Labor Relations Q & A | New Seasons Market

Since our founding we’ve been a different kind of grocery store. One that places as much value on taking care of our staff, communities and environment as we do in growing a sustainable and profitable business—and our commitment to these values remains strong! Wanna read more on our progressive grocer practices? Check out what makes us tick.

We’d like to answer a few of the more common questions we’re being asked about labor and unionization at New Seasons. See our Q&A below for updates to this ongoing discussion.

How does New Seasons Market support its staff?
At New Seasons, we’re proud of our progressive values and commitment to engaging, developing and supporting our staff with industry leading employment practices and competitive compensation and benefits, including care related to transition, paid parental leave for all parents and types of families, secure lifestyle scheduling, paid volunteer opportunities, career development and more.

We also have a long tradition of advocating for progressive policies and programs that support the diverse people who live and work in our neighborhoods, including championing minimum wage increases, fair workweek regulations, affordable housing, paid family and medical leave, and marriage equality. As an independent small retailer, we have the freedom to directly listen and respond to our staff, and support the shared values most important to our communities.

Is New Seasons Market anti-union?
No, New Seasons Market is not anti-union. As a progressive grocer, we believe in our staff’s right to organize and select representation. If our employees choose to unionize, we will respect that decision. So far our staff have not chosen to do so.

Will New Seasons support staff if they choose to unionize?
Yes. Our employees have the right to elect or reject representation in a democratic manner, which is best served through secret-ballot election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). For this process to move ahead, a workers group must petition the NLRB for an election, which they can do once they have signed cards from at least 30% of our staff. Employers can’t call for an election, only workers/unions can. Should an election take place, we will absolutely stand by the decision of our employees.

Has New Seasons Market been meeting with staff on labor concerns?
Yes. Members of our executive team regularly meet directly with staff members and will continue to do so on an individual and group basis. We’ve also met with the New Seasons Market United Workers Group, as well as union-affiliated community leaders to discuss their questions and requests, and we’ve taken away some valuable ideas. We’re proud of our “speak up” culture, which helps every voice be heard, and we’re committed to continuing this.

Are staff members being asked to refrain from discussing unionization with coworkers?
No. Our staff have the right to make up their own minds on this issue. Our priority has been to give them clear, objective information they need to do that.

Has New Seasons Market retaliated against employees involved in unionization efforts?
No. We have a strict no-retaliation policy, and we would never penalize any staff member for expressing their point of view or engaging in legal activity. We follow all labor laws and take our staff livelihood very seriously. We’re open about our shared code of conduct, performance expectations and protocols. Our staff are encouraged to share their ideas with coworkers and management, voice concerns and offer solutions.

Did New Seasons hire Cruz & Associates to avoid unionization?
No, we hired Cruz & Associates for objective information sessions for staff who were asking about the National Labor Relations Act and unionization process. As this was unfamiliar territory for us, we hired independent labor relations consulting firm Cruz & Associates to help provide 200 unbiased voluntary information sessions, which received overwhelmingly positive feedback from staff. This work was completed in November 2017 and we are no longer working with Cruz & Associates. After our work with them was completed, we heard concerning claims about Cruz & Associates’ previous work with the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas, and were assured that they have no current ties to Donald Trump, to anyone in his family or to his administration.

Is New Seasons Market tied to the Murdock Trust?
The actions of Murdock Trust have no bearing on the operations of New Seasons. The Murdock Trust investment with Endeavour represents less than 1.5 percent of Endeavour’s Fund V, which holds an ownership interest in New Seasons Market.