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Union Members Highlight Wage Concerns With Fred Meyer

Brian Bull

A small group of union activists gathered outside the Fred Meyer store in Eugene Friday to call attention to what they say is gender-pay inequity.

UPDATE: As of Sunday morning, a spokesman for Fred Meyer Stores issued a statement:

"We see the statement that women are more likely to be hired for certain lower-paying jobs than men, and that men are commonly paid more than women, as an unfortunate misrepresentation of our associates. Every associate in a same job type, whether woman or man, is paid equally based on their wage progressions negotiated by the union. We encourage all applicants to apply for jobs that interest them, as our goal is for associates to have a job they love so they will stay in them and hopefully build into a career.

We regard the negotiation process as an important effort and our objective is to achieve a balanced outcome that works well for our associates."

(end statement; begin original article)

The activists greeted shoppers and shared their issues with the Portland-based retail giant.  They say women are more likely to be hired for certain lower-paying jobs than men, and add that for grocery workers altogether, men are commonly paid more than women.

Leonard Stoehr is with Teamsters 206 in Springfield. He says Fred Meyer executives are in talks with its union. Despite the wage gap concern, he still endorses the chain.

“We appreciate everyone shopping at union grocery stores, it’s represented by UFCW 555 members, and we hope you’ll continue to do it for the foreseeable future.”

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Bob Bussel (left) a member of United Academics at the University of Oregon, was among those talking to customers outside Fred Meyers and getting signatures for a petition supporting UFCW 555.

The union members also presented petitions to shoppers, asking for equal pay among all workers.

As of press time, a voicemail requesting comment from Kroger – the company that owns the Fred Meyer chain - had not been returned.

Copyright 2019, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.