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Natural Grocers Workers Vote to Unionize

Natural Grocers store front

Employees at the Norman, Oklahoma Natural Grocers location voted 11-9 to unionize,  reports Oklahoma City Free Press. The workers have now become United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1000 members.

UFCW Local 1000 president Ricky Burris said that the employees have worked toward unionization since 2021 following concerns over the alleged termination of long-term employees for minor mistakes. An earlier report from Oklahoma City Free Press found that employees' goals for unionizing include:

• Adequate healthcare,

• Protection of pregnant workers' rights,

• Protection from employment at will and anti-union retaliation,

• Accessible Bereavement Leave,

• Protection of annual raises for all workers.

An employee of the location, Bridget Burns, was among those advocating for unionization.

“I want a union because I care deeply for my coworkers, my store, my community, and the future of the company,” she said. “I believe that a union provides a more accessible feedback representation system for workers and that this would enable the company to better uphold their founding principles.”

Natural Grocers responded to the news with the following statement:

“We respect that 11 out of 20 eligible Crew Members at our store in Norman, Oklahoma voted in favor of the UFCW acting as their bargaining agent. Natural Grocers will bargain in good faith with the UFCW in support of all Norman Crew members and continue to foster a culture of open communication and mutual respect,” said the retailer.

The grocer added, however, that it would have preferred not to include the union in the retailer-employee relationship.

“We continue to believe that having a direct working relationship with our Crew members better serves their interests, without an intermediary in the middle,” said Natural Grocers. Full Story