Workers raise concerns about safety and fair pay at PCC | Guest View
Grocery store reopens deli self-serve amid COVID pandemic
Last updated 12/26/2020 at 11:12am
When you work and shop at a place like PCC you have higher expectations than at a national chain store. We are the Puget Consumer Cooperative – or PCC Community Markets – as we are re-branded. I have worked at Edmonds PCC since 2008.
I have felt good about it as a union co-op grocery store worker helping to provide for my community. More recently, since the pandemic began, more people are recognizing that essential role.
That PCC remains successful is extraordinary in this pandemic. We have kept up with consumer needs and renovated stores, while expanding business into the other areas through new stores.
However, as PCC workers we are concerned about this rapid move. We no longer feel part of Team PCC. Our stores are now operating like a giant corporation. Instead of continuing to set higher standards, in some cases PCC is not even keeping up with the national chains.
An example is that we have not had quarantine pay. So unlike the agreement our union negotiated with Kroger and Safeway, PCC failed to provide quarantine pay; instead we are required to use our regular sick days or other paid time off if we were to have to self-quarantine after a COVID-positive exposure.
This is not right.
Another concern is that PCC recently reopened our deli self-serve bar despite rising COVID cases in the region. This is a serious safety concern! It has become a gathering place where people are touching food utensils and containers. Workers are very concerned about this.
Another issue: When my co- workers Donna Rasmussen from the View Ridge store and Laurae McIntyre from the Fremont store decided to run for the PCC board of trustees – a good idea in my view to get workers on the board – PCC has resisted.
Thankfully, we overcame those hurdles and got the required signatures with union and members help.
Finally, PCC just named a new CEO; instead of someone with a strong background in co-op business culture, they selected a Kroger corporation manager.
We fear these are signs of how PCC is shifting its culture from being a local co-op to becoming another national grocery corporation. We want to make sure that doesn't happen.
That is why we are pressing to provide as safe a workplace as possible. We will continue to press for hazard pay (they have not paid us more for working in the stressful and riskier environment of COVID) and quarantine pay.
We hope you stand with us and support the rights of workers at PCC.
Atsuko Koseki works in the deli at Edmonds PCC and is on the executive board and bargaining team of UFCW 21. UFCW 21 is a statewide union with over 46,000 members in grocery stores, health care, retail, and other industries.