Strike Averted – PCC Workers Approve New Contract

Following a nearly yearlong negotiation, workers and the UFCW local 3000 ratified a two-year deal with Seattle-based PCC Community Markets. The agreement came just days after UFCW members voted to authorize a strike, rejecting the retailer’s previous offer.

The deal includes a modest increase to starting wages, while journeyman-level wages will increase substantially. A UFCW spokesperson said that the new contract, “will make our PCC members the highest paid grocery and meat workers in the area, improve the safety of our stores, and maintain our health care benefits.”

Due largely to its rapid expansion, PCC has struggled to turn a profit for the past few years, breaking even in 2021 and ending 2022 in the red. Labor accounts for two thirds of PCC’s operating expenses, and given the retailer’s precarious finances, negotiations were difficult.

PCC workers are facing their own financial hardships on account of the ever-rising cost of living in the Seattle area. Union representatives lay the fault of the retailer’s financial woes largely on the retailer’s decision to rapidly expand its locations, with expensive store leases.

Last month, PCC closed its downtown Seattle location, only two-years after its opening, as it had accounted for about a third of the company’s 2022 losses. They are also considering moving their headquarters location, as a PCC spokesperson noted that the lease has nearly expired and that management was “evaluating alternatives that more accurately reflect our co-op’s values and needs.”

With the ratification of a new deal with its workers, PCC spokesperson Kate Hudson praised the contract for making its “store staff among the best paid grocery workers in the region” and it “reinforces our co-op’s reputation as a great place to work while also securing our long-term financial success.”