Sign On Letter to New Seasons Corporation (for groups and electeds)

New Seasons Presidents Kristi McFarland and Forrest Hoffmaster

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Join more than nearly 3 dozen leaders and grassroots organizations in signing this letter.

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To: New Seasons Presidents Kristi McFarland and Forrest Hoffmaster
From: [Your Name]

Dear Kristi McFarland and Forrest Hoffmaster:

We are aware of your company’s effort to expand in the Seattle Metro area, and we are increasingly concerned about additional New Seasons Market (NSM) stores opening in our neighborhoods given your company’s failure to meet our community standards.

Our top priority is ensuring our communities are accessible and affordable to all. However, gentrification is threatening the sustainability of our city as a home for working class people, particularly people of color and those with lower incomes. We are aware that your company intentionally targets neighborhoods that are in the process of being gentrified. In fact, your executives have stated that the addition of a NSM store will push rents and home values higher, based on evidence of the gentrifying impacts of NSM stores in Portland, Oregon.(1) We are disappointed that NSM is purposefully seeking to increase inequality, by intensifying the gentrification processes that are pricing out long-time Seattle residents from their neighborhoods. Although NSM presents itself as a socially-responsible company, on par with Seattle’s community-owned cooperative grocers, or local, family-operated grocery stores, we know your company is owned by the private equity firm, Endeavor Capital, which has no qualms about intentionally fostering gentrification and displacement to drive up the value of their investment.(2)

Further, New Seasons employment practices are substandard compared to established standards in Seattle’s grocery industry. Over the years, grocery workers in our community have won living wages, affordable healthcare, secure retirement benefits and the right to advocate for better working conditions. All grocery stores in our city should meet high industry standards that ensure healthy, stable lives for workers and their families. In a region struggling with rising economic inequality, maintaining established standards and defending workers’ rights are key to keeping our local economy sustainable for all. However, New Seasons provides more expensive health care benefits than union alternatives,(3) deprives workers of basic job security,(4) and prevents employees from having a voice on the job. Additionally, your company unfairly penalizes employees for calling in sick, which jeopardizes the health of both customers and employees.(5)

We need to have a say in how our communities are changing, and we believe New Seasons will negatively impact the lives of our friends, families, and neighbors. We ask that you agree to meet the industry standards our local grocery workers have fought for, including affordable healthcare, job security, and basic workplace rights. Until this happens, we will not be shopping in your Seattle area stores, and we will actively educate our community about New Seasons’ failure to live up to our Seattle values.

Sincerely,

A. Philip Randolph Institute - Seattle Chapter (APRI)
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA)
Community Alliance for Global Justice (CAGJ)
Equal Rights Washington (ERW)
Greater Seattle Area Local of the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
Got Green
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW 77)
ILWU Puget Sound District Council
ILWU Local 19
ILWU Local 52
LGBTQ Allyship
Main Street Alliance
M.L. King County Labor Council
OneAmerica
Poverty Action Network
Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA)
Puget Sound Sage
Seattle-King County NAACP
King County Councilmember Larry Gossett
King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles
Seattle City Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez
Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold
Seattle City Councilmember Rob Johnson
Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien
Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant
SEIU 6 Property Services NW
SEIU 925
St Johns United Lutheran Church
Teamsters 117
Transit Riders Union
Unite Here! Local 8
Washington Community Action Network (WA CAN)
Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO
UAW Local 4121
UW United Students Against Sweatshops (UW USAS)
Vietnamese Friendship Association

SOURCES:

(1) Anna Marum, “New Seasons plans 2 California stores, sets date for Woodstock store opening,” Oregon Live (Oct. 14, 2015, updated on Feb. 2, 2016). http://www.oregonlive.com/window-shop/index.ssf/2015/10/new_seasons_expansion.html

(2) As evidenced by NSM decision to lease a store location from Lake Union Partners (LUP) in Seattle’s Central Area. LUP’s disregard for the disruption of this historically African-American community is on display in this interview: “Creating Communities That Last: An Interview with Lake Union Partners” Arcade (June 7, 2016).

(3) See, NSM Employee Handbook, “Benefits of Working at New Seasons Market” (2016); and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 grocery contracts.

(4) NSM Employee Handbook, “Benefits of Working at New Seasons Market” (2016); and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 grocery contracts.

(5) For more on the NSM attendance policy, see http://nsmsick.org/#research1