It makes us sick that...

  • New Seasons admits gentrification and displacement of existing communities are key to its growth strategy, such as in Seattle’s Central District.   
  • New Seasons is more expensive than other grocery stores, charging customers up to 2x as much for the same products   
  • New Seasons Market’s profits will enrich the Murdock Trust, which funds extreme anti-LGBT, anti-choice and anti-worker groups.  
  • New Seasons Market unfairly punishes grocery store employees for doing the right thing and staying home while they are sick.  
  • New Seasons Market has a record of serious worker and food safety violations at its Oregon stores.  

2 ways to take action

1. Sign the petition!

We, the shoppers and workers at grocery stores around Seattle and Mercer Island, stand with the employees of New Seasons Market.

We call on New Seasons Market management to:

  • Stop punishing employees who protect shoppers’ health by staying home when they are sick.
  • Cut ties with investors who fund extreme anti-LGBT, anti-choice and anti-worker groups.
  • Address deficiencies in worker and food safety by providing employees with appropriate training, adequate staffing and safe equipment.

We value fairness, diversity, honesty and opportunity. We demand that New Seasons Market respect its employees, and provide fair pay and benefits in return for hard work.

2. Shop at local, fair grocery stores

Instead of New Seasons Markets, shop at one of the many near by grocery stores that share our Seattle values of fairness, diversity, honesty and opportunity.

New Seasons admits gentrification and displacement of existing communities are key to its growth strategy, such as in Seattle’s Central District.

New Seasons says it is a "grocer with heart, committed to listening and meeting the needs of this neighborhood,” but gentrification and displacement are key to the corporation's profit strategy, according to its own executives.

Jerry Chevassus, New Seasons’ Chief Development Officer, “outlined New Seasons' strategy for choosing locations: It targets neighborhoods in the process of gentrification, he said. Often, the addition of a New Seasons will push rents and home values higher, adding to that process.” - Oregonian

Although New Seasons says it hires locally when it opens in gentrifying neighborhoods in Portland, workers there say it's not all it's cracked up to be.

"We have employees who can’t afford to shop in our store, even with a discount,” they said. “Products are overpriced." - New Seasons employee in Portland to The Stranger

Despite seeking input from community leaders, developer Lake Union Partners recently announced that it would ignore community concerns and instead lease to high end grocer New Seasons at its development at 23rd and Union.

“With our East Union project, the community was worried we were going to put in a high-end grocery store that the average citizen cannot afford. That’s challenging for us because we want to put in a store that’s of good quality and well designed, and at the same time, we can’t be the ones setting the store’s prices.” - Lake Union Partners Principal Pat Folely

In an open letter to New Seasons, more than a dozen Seattle grassroots organizations, elected leaders and candidates express concerns about the corporation’s expansion into Seattle given the company’s failure to meet our community standards. Add your organization to this letter now.

“New Seasons executives have bragged about how they target neighborhoods on the brink of gentrification,” Basior said, referring to an interview New Seasons’ head of store development gave to The Oregonian newspaper. “By choosing New Seasons, Lake Union Partners is clearly more interested in making a profit than ensuring the sustainability of the community.” - Central District leader Rabbi David Basior

Democratic Party districts opposing New Seasons moving into Seattle include the 34th (West Seattle), 36th (Ballard), 41st (Mercer Island), 43rd (Capitol Hill), and 37th (Central District, Columbia City). Resolution

“There's a lot of single parents working in my store that have a hard time living in Seattle because the rent is getting so high. New Seasons is only going to make it harder for people to get by. I rely on my union benefits to live and I hope people continue to support union stores." - Toni Stark UFCW 21 member and clerk at Safeway on 23rd and Madison

New Seasons is more expensive than other grocery stores, charging customers up to 2x more for the same products.

New Seasons Market unfairly punishes its Mercer Island employees for doing the right thing and staying home while they are sick.

According to the company’s staff handbook, New Seasons Market on Mercer Island dings employees 3 points every time they stay home sick or to take care of sick child. Leave work early or come in 7 minutes late because you or your child is sick and that’s another 1 or 2 points. Get more than 9 points in any 6 months? New Seasons can fire you. And what happened when New Seasons employees tried to talk with other grocery store workers to help explain their rights? Management kicked them out.

New Seasons Market’s profits help Murdock Trust, which funds anti-LGBT, anti-union extremist groups.

New Seasons Market claims to share our Northwest values of equality and fairness. But in fact, one of New Seasons’ investors is the Murdock Trust, which has sent millions of dollars to extreme anti-LGBT, anti-worker, and anti-choice organizations.

New Seasons is majority-owned by private equity investors through funds managed by Endeavour Capital (Source: “New Seasons Market,” Endeavour Capital.) Since 2000, the Vancouver-based Murdock Charitable Trust has invested millions in six funds managed by Endeavour Capital – including the funds which reportedly own a 69% interest in New Seasons. (Source: M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, IRS Form 990-PF (2015))

Over the years, the Murdock Charitable Trust has given millions to organizations that actively undermine Northwest values of equality and fairness including anti-LGBT, anti-choice and anti-worker groups.

  • A Vancouver Charity is Funding a Group Backing North Carolina's Anti-Transgender "Bathroom Bill.” Murdock Charitable Trust gave $375,000 to a Scottsdale, Ariz.,-based group called the Alliance Defending Freedom. Willamette Week
  • Murdock Trust urged to stop funding extremist groups. The Stand
  • Local foundation provides surprising support for right-wing campaign. National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

New Seasons is majority-owned by private equity investors through funds managed by Endeavour Capital (Source: “New Seasons Market,” Endeavour Capital). Since 2000, the Vancouver-based Murdock Charitable Trust has invested millions in six funds managed by Endeavour Capital – including the funds which own a majority interest in New Seasons. Murdock Trust is an investor in multiple Endeavour Capital funds, including V and VII, which together own 69% of New Seasons Market (Source: M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, IRS Form 990-PF (2015)

New Seasons Market has a record of serious worker and food safety violations in its Oregon stores.

New Seasons’ attendance policy puts customers at risk by encouraging employees to come to work sick and the company’s food safety record has been poor. New Seasons' Oregon stores accumulated numerous food safety violations and customer complaints from 2011 to 2016.[1]

  • Forty-three customer complaints in Oregon Department of Agriculture files over this period include multiple reports that food prepared or sold in New Seasons stores caused diarrhea, cramping, and other symptoms of foodborne illness.
  • During the same period, the Oregon Department of Agriculture found 408 violations of the food safety code in inspections of 14 New Seasons Market (NSM) stores and the chain’s Central Kitchen.[2] According to reports, 174 of these violations had either a direct relation to foodborne illness, or concerned a failure to follow foodborne illness prevention procedures.[3]

New Seasons' workplace practices have exposed employees to severe harm on the job. New Seasons has received more than 20 citations for workplace health and safety violations in Oregon over the last 5 years.[4]

  • One New Seasons’ employee suffered multiple arm fractures, had to be hospitalized and missed 67 days of work when her arm was pinned under the roller of a New Seasons moulder bakery machine.[5]
  • Two months later, another New Seasons’ employee had her right forearm smashed between the top roller and the bottom roller of a baking machine, missing 20 days of work.[6]
  • Another New Seasons employee had her arm crushed between the bowl and paddle of a mixing machine the next year.[7]

About Us

We’re the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 21. Working with community partners, we’ve helped pass paid sick and safe leave, increased minimum wage, marriage equality and many other improvements for everyone’s work and community.

UFCW 21 represents over 46,000 workers with nearly 21,000 working in grocery stores like Safeway, Fred Meyer, QFC and Albertsons as well as many smaller grocery stores like PCC Natural Markets and Metropolitan Market. UFCW 21 also represents over 4,800 workers in retail stores like Macy's, Fred Meyer and Bartell Drugs.

Contact: team@nsmsick.com

Citations

  • [1] Analysis of Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) public records request, inspections of New Seasons Market, September 12, 2011 – September 20, 2016. Records available upon request.
  • [2] See footnote 1.
  • [3] See, for example, the 8 “priority” violations found during the inspection of the Arbor Lodge NSM, on May 6th 2015
  • [4] Analysis of Oregon Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) public records requests, inspector’s reports and citation records, including citizen complaints, for New Seasons Market. Records available upon request.
  • [5] “VIOLATION WORKSHEET/FIELD NOTES” Oregon OSHA Inspection: 317696425, New Seasons Market LLC (Central Kitchen), April 10, 2014
  • [6] OSHA Form 300A, New Seasons Market at 301 SE 2nd Ave, Portland, OR, 97214, 2014 , Oregon OSHA Inspection: 317706708, New Seasons Market LLC (Central Kitchen), February 17, 2015
  • [7] OSHA Form 300A, New Seasons Market at 301 SE 2nd Ave, Portland, OR, 97214, 2015, Oregon OSHA Inspection: 317706708, New Seasons Market LLC (Central Kitchen), February 17, 2015