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I'd also question the accuracy of that one site's chart. Of course it's going to make them look as bad as possible since that's exactly their intent; look at the name of the site. And every grocery store has some items that are more or less expensive than others, because they get you there to buy discounted stuff in the hope you buy more expensive items.
Trader Joe's is not considered a good place to shop by that site (because it isn't union), yet its employees love working there, and they get paid better than average, and they get benefits. So that's a pretty narrow lens to view a "fair" store chain. I mean, QFC is cool--hey, we're owned by Kroger, and Kroger is terrible!--but Trader Joe's isn't?
And in Portland they are the most diversity conscious grocery by a landslide. It almost looks curated sometimes. Pay is a living wage, benefits are reasonable, and from my observed experience, the employees generally like the environment and are friendly as fuck.
The butchers I know there are a rowdy bunch of guys and gals that take pride in their work and being knowledgeable and helpful. Some prices are high, but they also carry western family brand, which is cheap as hell. So it depends on the quality of grocery and how much you're willing to spend on your food whether it's affordable or not.
It's always interesting when cultures collide.
For the bargain hunters, there's still Grocery Outlet on Union and MLK.
Second, by my quick count, 6 of the article’s 25 paragraphs are based on anonymous quotes from a single source, which would enrage an editor at any journalistic publication.
Such poor work here.
Actually the Safeway at 23rd & E Madison is about 4 blocks away from 23rd & E. Madison, but this will put the New Seasons store some 13 blocks (roughly a mile, maybe a little more) from 23rd & E. Jackson. Not an insurmountable distance to be sure, but it still puts it slightly farther away from those who live south and east of where the Red Apple used to be, especially if you're old and not able to walk or drive that distance.
The article specifically mentioned "catfish and greens", and it was pretty decent catfish for a grocery deli case (the mac-and-cheese wasn't bad either) - in fact, you'd be hard-pressed to name another major grocery store that even sells fried catfish.
As for creating "new jobs" I can't help but wonder how many jobs were lost with the Red Apple closure, and what the odds are that any of those people would be hired to work at a more upscale establishment that's essentially taking its place, even if it's not at the same physical location.
the gist: other cities have gone up more steeply. our avg. prop tax went up $800 between 2005 & 2015. that's about $70/month. there's no one that rents in this city that hasn't seen a climb of $70/month in the last 10 years. it's not targeted at the CD. I've heard the same complaint from the white dude at my dry cleaner.
Many Trader Joe's stores in Seattle are chronically under-staffed, and managed by Captains who make base salaries of $110,000, with bonuses over $20,000, who are out of touch with the fact that crew make far less than this. More often than not, Captains care about whether crew members are working to simply sell as much product as possible, with stores making upwards of $130,000 in total sales per day, on busy days.
Trader Joe's nickels and dimes its crew with health care benefits. TJ's carefully tracks and measures how many hours crew members work in order to calculate exactly which staff they have to pay health care to, and which they don't. I work a second job for a different employer (another common occurrence among TJ crew), which provides health care benefits, no questions asked, to anyone who works at least one day a month.
Finally, TJ's top step is $24, which may be higher in some cases than union rates, but our raises are not guaranteed and once you get placed on a step, you are pretty much stuck there. There was a crew member who worked at my store for 3 years, barely made over $15 per hour, and then went to work for a union grocery store in Seattle. Their management credited them as if they had worked under the union contract for 3 years, and the crew member was bumped up to over $18 per hour. They are also eligible for regular step increases under the union contract, and have job security and a meaningful voice on the job.
Trader Joe's is low key but definitely anti-union, held captive audiences against unionizing with crew members, and has been subject to Unfair Labor Practices on the east coast: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/04/busin…. Our management say they are open to input and criticism, but this is just a facade. When faced with real feedback that was critical of how they ran our store, our management was extremely defensive and failed to take any responsibility whatsoever for our working conditions. I wish that Trader Joe's was union, and the fact that Trader Joe's is anti-union, negatively impacts the working lives of tens of thousands of crew members.
New Seasons and Whole Foods are no different, and make no mistake, these stores and Trader Joe's are not good employers.
23rd and Union will have access to a Safeway and Grocery Outlet, in addition to whatever this designer grocery store is (not to mention Trader Joe's up the hill)
23rd and Yesler is more problematic, but I thought Vulcan was going to let Red Apple come back when they were done? It's a no-brainer that there would be some sort of general service grocery in a development that big. Hopefully one that has better prices than Red Apple (I shop at Hilltop Red Apple every day, and while it's a great store, it's hardly a bargain. If I had my act together, I'd just go to QFC down the hill)
The other thing that would undermine union density in the grocery industry in Seattle ? A grocery chain with HIGHER standards. As a relatively new New Seasons employee, I can tell you the benefits, pay, work environment, safety, focus on community, and the speak up culture make me proud to be a part of it. I am constantly amazed by the effort they make to use business to do good.
From the New Seasons website:
- Oregon’s 2016 Most Admired Companies, Portland Business Journal
- America’s Best Grocery Stores 2017, The Daily Meal
- Oregonians Against Discrimination Award, 2016, Basic Rights Oregon
- Green Globes Award, 2015, The Green Building Initiative for Environmental & Energy Efficiency
- 2015 Executive of the Year, 2015, Portland Business Journal
- 2015 Business of the Year Award, 2015, Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce
Somehow all this seems to outweigh comments from 1 or 2 disgruntled employees (out of over 3,000).
My opinion is that unions are fantastic where needed and they have made workers lives safer and fairer. I just think New Seasons is already doing what unions try to achieve, so what is the point of losing a significant part of my paycheck? AND unions depend on member dues too, so I guess expecting them to take an informed or balanced approach isn't realistic. I guess they'll use whatever untrue or myopic viewpoints they need to in order to get those member dues...Disappointing, when the company on the other end is as positive in intention and action as I have seen New Seasons to be.