(Update: Adding that it was second major union contract agreement of the day)
A through-the-night bargaining session — the first with a federal mediator — led to a tentative agreement Saturday on a new contract for thousands of Northwest grocery workers, ending a union boycott of Fred Meyer and the threat of a strike also affecting Albertsons, Safeway and QFC stores.
Local 555 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union said Saturday afternoon the two-day negotiating session between the grocery employers and the union team was joined for the first time by a federal mediator, at the union’s request, after talks dragged on for some 15 months.
A tentative agreement was reached around 9 a.m., the UFCW statement said. Details of the deal were withheld until union members review and vote on ratification at upcoming meetings.
” UFCW Local 555 thanks everyone for their support of our boycott campaign ” involving Fred Meyer, called last Sunday due to what the union alleged were unfair labor practices.
” Our bargaining team is happy to report that we were successful in addressing all of our concerns, ” the statement said. ” Local 555 recognizes that this would not have been possible without the support of our community. ”
” We are now asking all of our supporters to cease the boycott and resume their normal shopping habits, including shopping at Fred Meyer, ” the announcement concluded.
Fred Meyer spokesman Jeffery Taylor provided this statement to NewsChannel 21:
” We are pleased to have a tentative agreement that secures increased wages, continued premium health care coverage and pension stability. We thank our hardworking associates for continuing to serve our customers and communities every day. Our top priority is to do what is best — provide our customers with the freshest products and the friendliest associates. ”
By apparent coincidence, the agreement was reached on the same day a tentative two-year contract was reached for 4,500 employees of Oregon’s public universities, who were threatening to strike Monday, as many students return for fall classes.
UFCW Local 555 Communications Director Kelley McAllister called it a ” great day for unions. ”
She said she could not provide any details on the grocery workers’ tentative contract until after the ratification vote. But she noted that they are typically three-year contracts.