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 concerns at New Seasons, and the wider question of unionization by New Seasons staff. See our Q&A below for updates to this ongoing discussion.

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 (like the one currently established) 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 ignored requests for dialogue with union organizers or the workers group?
New Seasons Market is in communication with current staff members who are a part of the New Seasons Market United Workers Group to meet and discuss their questions and concerns, as well as collaborate on a mutually respectful process for next steps. As a progressive grocer, we believe in our staff’s right to organize and select representation.

Has New Seasons Market been meeting with staff on their current labor concerns?
Yes. Members of our executive team have been meeting directly with current staff members and will continue to do so on an individual and group basis. We’re proud of our “speak up” culture, which helps every voice be heard, and we’re committed to continuing this.

Is New Seasons Market anti-union?
No, New Seasons Market is not anti-union.

What is the status of the complaints filed against New Seasons Market with the National Labor Relations Board?
The National Labor Relations Board dismissed three complaints filed against New Seasons Market in Portland and a fourth was withdrawn. The majority of charges filed in a fifth complaint were also dismissed and the remaining charges are still outstanding, pending further processing.  Recently, a complaint was filed with the NLRB in Seattle and we intend to fully cooperate with the NLRB’s review as we have done so far.

Are staff members being asked to refrain from discussing the unionization effort 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.

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.