Workers Demonstrate At Burien Fred Meyer Over “Unfair Wage Standard”

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by Gina Bourdage

Workers demonstrated in front of the Burien Fred Meyer on Wednesday (March 10) over what they consider an “unfair wage standard” being practiced by the grocery store.

While demonstrators were not interested in formal comment or going on record with The B-Town Blog, they provided us with an official flier outlining the reason for their demonstration which we have copied below:

“Shame On Fred Meyer” for discrimination of the American Way of Life

A rat is a contractor that does not pay all of its employees on all jobs the Area Standards Wages, including wither providing or making payments for family healthcare and pension benefits.

Shame On Fred Meyer for contributing to the erosion of Area Standards for Puget Sound and area carpenter craft workers.

The Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters has a labor dispute with Marquise Drywall which is a slated to perform work for BooCo Construction Company. Marquise Drywall does not meet area labor standards, including providing or fully paying for family health care and pension for all its carpenter craft employees on all of its projects.  BooCo Construction is the General Contractor for the Fred Meyer remodel project in Lynwood, Washington.

The Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters objects to substandard wage employers like Marquise Drywall working in the community. In our opinion the community ends up paying the tab for employee health care and low wages tend to lower general community standards, thereby encouraging crime and their social ills.

The Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters believes that Fred Meyer has an obligation to the community to see that area labor standards are met for construction work performed on their projects. They should not be allowed to insulate themselves behinds “independent” contractors.

We attempted to contact William Mercer, Project Manager for Fred Meyer/Kroger, but were unable to reach him for official comment. He was encouraged to leave comments on our blog for his side of the story.

This demonstration is being organized by the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters and their Carpenters Union.

They do note that they are NOT urging any workers to refuse work or refuse to deliver goods.

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16 Responses to “Workers Demonstrate At Burien Fred Meyer Over “Unfair Wage Standard””
  1. Coverofnight says:

    Why don’t they just come out and say that the General Contractor is using non-union drywall labor on the project? Oh, boo-hoo to the Union! I’m so sick of these guys whining if they aren’t on the job with their inflated labor rates and guaranteed benefits. What about us regular working stiffs that benefit from Fred Meyer’s lower prices that aren’t inflated to cover union workers? All they do is carp about how it impacts their ability to work and have health care for their families. Try going without like my family does because I’m not in a union. As today’s politicians have bastardized the Founding Fathers ideals for government, so too have unions, through their greed, destroyed incentive and sent manufacturing overseas; hurting our economy and enriching foreign economies. In theory, unions were great when they started – but maybe now it’s time to get rid of all of them. I look for the union label – but everything is stamped, “Made in China”! Get a clue…and have a nice day.

    • Rob says:

      Why don’t you get a clue? We can thank our standard of living today to Union led contracts and labor. Everytime there is a dispute I get sick and tired of you all who write and say the union guys are just whining, and are overpaid. Meanwhile corporate fat cats keep getting richer, NOT paying for things like health care for workers and their familys. But you have a nice day yourself

    • Rainycity says:

      If it wasn`t for unions there would be a lot less industry here in the U.S.
      And just look at the great quality of all that stuff labeled “made in china” , crayons that kill your kids if they nibble on them,
      People are going to work hard or not regardless of unions and not just poke around at their own pace because they can`t get fired.
      If cover of night is happy letting his family go without because he doesn`t have the incentive to go look for something better, well, thats fine but don`t blame the unions, this country would not be what it is if it wasn`t for unions, they are whats keeping what industries left here in the U.S. here.
      It`s not really the stockholder they are trying to save money for, it`s the corporate pockets they want to line at the expense of the American work force.

  2. warrenb says:

    coverofnight better get a clue. The labor movement in this country created the middle class. Labor unions are the only ones between the fat cats getting fatter, and all manufacturing being done in China. Your opinion of unions sounds like something you got from Glenn Beck. The bankers and wall street would love to get rid of all unions. Ignorant people like you play right into their hands. As a rank and file union member, I work hard for those good wages and benefits, and receive something coverofnight would know nothing about, PRIDE.

    • Eric says:

      Well said. I have never understood why people like coverofnight are against people earning a living wage, having access to to healthcare, and paid holidays and vacation, to just name a few of the things we can thank organized labor for.

  3. Dale says:

    I wish you folks would stop badmouthing Fred Meyer. You are causing my Kroger stock (KR) to drop in value. Thanks.

  4. Kathi V. says:

    Not to sound Dumb but (OK I know I’m going to sound dumb but I’m going to say it anyways ….)

    Shouldn’t these Carpenters negotiate their Wages and such BEFORE signing on to a project like RENOVATING A FRED MEYER??

    Did these Carpenters NOT KNOW the terms of their contract going in to this job?

    If you’re not happy with wages/health care/etc Aren’t you allowed to just NOT TAKE THE JOB? Did Fred Meyer have a gun to your head and say to you “Do this job at next to nothing or else”?

    Why complain AFTER when you should have spoken up BEFORE?

    (See? Told you I’d sound Dumb…someone Educate me Please.What am I missing?)

    • mac says:

      You don’t sound dumb Kathi, but sadly, many folks can’t afford to not take the job. But take note, the workers are not demonstrating in this case, the union is.

      • GaryK says:

        No one forces anyone to work for them. If you don’t like the wage offered by the employer, don’t work for them. If they can’t fill all of theholes in their stores they’ll have to raise the wages to get people in. As far as the argument about people not being able to decline job offers, well too bad. Should have stayed in school or been more productive. You know, you reap what you sow? Bad planning on your part does not constitue more sacrifice from your prospective employer.

        • feral dog says:

          What a skilled trade has to do with poor planning is beyond me but I`m just
          glad to see you so on top of things gary,, that was over 4 months ago…

  5. Reggie says:

    Sounds like a bunch of Crap.

    After reading the flier above Fred Meyer sounds like an innocent party in the whole equation . Unfair.

  6. Coverofnight says:

    To Kathi: It’s not the workers on the job that are complaining, it’s the Union; sour grapes that THEY aren’t on the job. And to Rob/Warren/Eric: I’m not against any of the items you parrot from the Union line if someone elects to use Union labor on a project. Many of these union workers are indeed hard-working and do a great job. But if work done to Fred Meyer standards can be done without Union labor, by other hard-working Americans, why is Fred Meyer the bad guy for trying to save their stockholders money? Today’s Union membership in the private workplace is only between 7%-8%. The rest of us 92% in the private workplace seem to make living wages with benefits just fine. I think we don’t like to be required to pay the higher Union rates if it’s not necessary. My main objection to Unions is in the government/public sector where roughly 35% of that workforce is Union. Ask your fellow citizens if they believe government/public sector unions provide outstanding service. Sure, those workers receive “PRIDE” in their work – they draw great wages and benefits as they poke along at their own pace because they know they can’t get fired. Take a look at our education system and how our State ranks low nationally – hey, aren’t all those teachers Union?! Oh yeah, I should get a clue…..I’m think I’m quite clued in, thank you – and I don’t even watch that Beck guy! God Bless!

  7. Kathi V. says:

    OOOH! I get it now!

    Well then to THAT I say:

    Its a Free Country…Fred Meyer can hire (or NOT hire) whoever the hell they want too!!


  8. Superbee07 says:

    I work for the union for a long time. It seemed they took more than they gave and they seem the breed laziness so the private sector makes more sense. Good job to Fred Meyer so they can pass the savings on to us.

    • Bon says:

      I agree with you 100$ Superbee07, I worked as a union painter for many years. I recently said bye bye to the bullshit construction industry. Yes unions have lost their way over the past hundred years. The uppers in unions have sold the workers out to greed and bureaucracy. And yes, I know from working around these guys enough to know that the union does tend to breed not only laziness, but whiner’s disease also. The unions today DO NOT stand for what they are intended for and they certainly aren’t a representation of what the early labor movement did for this country. Most young union workers today have no idea what the labor movement even was about….union worker construction benefits are crap too

  9. Lamelocal555 says:

    Fred Meyer provides jobs to our local communities. The union provides jobs to a select few reps. Fred Meyer buys product from local farmers. The union does not. Fred Meyer donates money to the local communities. The union raises union dues. Fred Meyer employees are wonderful people. The union only looks for fights and only are around to stir the pot.
    In my area my dues ONLY go to pay my union reps salary, not to my penion or to my medical benefits. Fred Meyer pays for my benefits.
    I cannot speak for all unions. I am sure there are strong, healthy unions that benefit their employees but Local 555 in not one of them. We want to vote ours out. They have lost sight of what we, their paying members, want.

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