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Being a Progressive store in a Progressive town does not guarantee the employees will be able to safely unionize.

Although trendy and pricy that pricyness doesn't apparently trickle down to the workers as they have not had a raise in over three years. And one of their major employee advocates was fired.

For stealing tofu.

He went through the register with the product but the cashier never logged it into his sale. So he was fired. Not the cashier.

Now the workers are picketing and trying to raise awareness that this company doesn't share Portland values.

The mood behind the scenes at New Seasons is tense, says a coworker of Gaughan who was wearing a tofu pin in solidarity. "There's a lot of tension, this is a huge issue. I personally just talked to a bunch of employees who think the firing is wrong, but they're scared to even wear a button or 'like' the Facebook page," said the worker who has been a New Seasons clerk for three years. "I was surprised to hear he was fired. He's an upstanding worker, a big advocate for employees." The clerk said Gaughan has been part of a group of workers that had been meeting for months to discuss the "top-down, really aggressive management style that has heightened over the past few years."

This protest comes at a bad time for Eileen Brady, whose campaign for mayor is built largely on her experience co-founding New Seasons.


Originally posted to PDX Metro on Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 02:21 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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