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The union that represents the workers accused the supermarket of foul play and will contest the results.

PMG PHOTO: TROY SHINN - Workers at New Seasons Market in Hillsboro moved to unionize earlier this year. Election results show that a majority voted down the unionization proposal, however, and now a local labor group is contesting the results.

Employees at one of Hillsboro's New Seasons Markets appear to have resoundingly rejected forming a union, but the labor group ushering the workers through the process says it will contest the results of the election.

The workers, being represented by the UFCW Local 555 union, held their National Labor Relations Board election on Sept. 1, a step required for officially forming the union.

Out of 108 eligible voters, only 37 voted to form a union and 60 voted against.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) issued a statement the next day casting doubt on the outcome of the vote.

"While we are disappointed with yesterday's results, the election is not over," said local union branch president Dan Clay. "The ballot count was affected by the unfair labor practices the company committed in the elections process, and there are several challenge ballots to address. We will be evaluating our options, and acting accordingly."

The union didn't specify what "unfair labor practices" New Seasons allegedly committed during the election process or provide evidence to back up its accusations. Representatives did not return requests for clarification in time for this report.

New Seasons issued a statement, saying that it has cooperated with the process from the start.

"We respect each staff member's right to choose or not choose union representation," the emailed statement reads. "As we have committed to from the beginning of the petition and election process, New Seasons Market will continue to communicate with transparency in service of our legacy of putting our staff members first."

Workers at the Orenco Station New Seasons in Hillsboro filed for the election back in May, and the date was set a couple months later. They indicated in their filing that they were unhappy with the changes at the local grocer after it was bought out by E-mart, the largest retailer in South Korea.

"This comes after a months-long organizing campaign to provide workers at New Seasons with a voice and process to demand better benefits, stronger pay, and a more secure retirement," said the UCFW in a press release about the election results.

New Seasons, which focuses on locally produced goods, is headquartered in Portland and was founded in 1999. It currently operates 18 stores in the Portland metropolitan area and one in Northern California. More branches are scheduled to open in downtown Vancouver, Washington; Lake Oswego; and Milwaukie.

Four New Seasons stores have made moves to unionize, including the Slabtown, Sellwood and Seven Corners locations in Portland.

Employees at the Seven Corners location in Portland announced on the same day as their Hillsboro counterparts that they were also pursuing a union.

Those workers, as well as employees at the Sellwood branch, secured a vote-by-mail election. Balloting at those stores concludes on Wednesday, Sept. 7 and Thursday, Sept. 8, respectively.

The results of the Seven Corners branch election indicate that employees there voted 62 to 15 to form a union.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with a statement from New Seasons Market and with the vote tallies for another store's election results.


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