Protesters targeted the grand opening of the Portland-based chain’s new Ballard store Wednesday with a list of anti-labor, union-unfriendly grievances:
Employees say corporate managers retaliated against Portland workers who spoke up about working conditions, even hiring a notorious Trump Hotel union-buster to intimidate and silence them.New Seasons is also under fire from community leaders for links to Murdock Trust, a major funder of anti-LGBTQ groups including those that advocate for gay conversion therapy and fake women’s health clinics.The grocery chain was once known for its community values. However, since its purchase by Endeavour Capital, a private equity investment firm which also owns Aladdin Bail Bonds, employees say corporate managers have been focused on expansion and cutting costs even if it impacts customer health and worker safety.
Small protests have also targeted the coming Central District store slated to weigh in at 18,000 square feet below 144 market-rate apartments. But, despite a pullback in the grocery company’s expansion plans and some financial turmoil around the chain, developers Lake Union Partners and New Seasons ownership are moving forward with the Central District project. The coalition opposing New Seasons is now down to only the 23rd and Union project in its quest to stop the chain’s expansion into Seattle.
New Seasons has pledged to “partner with the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle to hire 100 people from the neighborhood to work at the new Central District location” and has met with the community to try to counter the anti-worker claims.
With the intersection already home to new residents in Lake Union Partners’ The Central — and a new restaurant this summer, the area will also become home to hundred more in coming years as construction is completed on Capitol Hill Housing’s inclusively developed Liberty Bank Building and, eventually, the Africatown Community Land Trust, Capitol Hill Housing, and Lake Union Partners-developed project to transform the Midtown Center block comes to fruition.
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