Employees at the Sellwood New Seasons store voted against unionizing Thursday afternoon, just 24 hours after their peers at a SE Division New Seasons shop voted to unionize.
A total of 33 workers voted against unionizing, while 29 voted to join the New Seasons Labor Union. The results come as a blow to workers eager to join the independent union.
Sellwood New Seasons workers first filed their petition to join the burgeoning New Seasons Labor Union in late June, inspired by workers at New Seasons' Seven Corners location—on SE Division and 19th—filing a union petition the month prior. Workers hoped that unionizing would improve unreliable benefit plans, strict scheduling policies, and alleged inaction regarding microaggressions at work.
The Thursday vote follows a union-busting campaign by New Seasons management, that consisted of anti-union letters penned by human resources managers and the company's CEO sent to workers, and a campaign focused on discrediting factual reporting on the union by the Mercury.
The Sellwood store is one of four New Seasons stores in the Portland region that filed to unionize with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) this summer, joining workers at the market's stores Slabtown, Hillsboro, and at the Seven Corners store. After workers file a petition, their employers have the opportunity to voluntarily recognize their union and begin meeting to hash out a contract. New Seasons refused to voluntarily recognize these stores' unions, forcing workers to hold elections overseen by the NLRB.
On September 1, workers at the Hillsboro News Seasons voted against joining the United Food & Commercial Workers union. On Wednesday, workers at the Seven Corners New Seasons overwhelmingly voted to join the worker-created New Seasons Labor Union. The date for the Slabtown workers' vote has yet to be finalized by the NLRB. Like Seven Corners and Sellwood, Slabtown employees are hoping to join the New Seasons Labor Union.
New Seasons management acknowledged Thursday's vote in a statement to the Mercury.
"We respect each staff member’s right to choose or not choose union representation," the statement reads. "As we have committed to from the beginning of this process, New Seasons Market will continue to make transparency and clear and open lines of communication with all staff members a priority."
After losing the vote Thursday, Sellwood New Seasons Labor Union members signaled that it wasn't the end of their fight.
"While we are disappointed, this is not anywhere close to the end of an exciting and determined movement started by workers, for workers," reads a statement issued by members of the Sellwood New Seasons Labor Union. "We will continue to stand up for ourselves and support the cause. We know we will continue organizing, having conversations with our coworkers, and working towards something better for the people we spend our working days with. We know that Sellwood will have another chance for representation."