The Stand

Dammeier vetoes Pierce County hazard pay

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County executive refused to hear from grocery workers before killing measure

 

TACOMA (May 5, 2021) — Grocery workers represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 367 won a significant victory Tuesday when the Pierce County Council approved a $4/hour Hazard Pay Ordinance amid the COVID-19 pandemic that would provide direct assistance to more than 2,000 essential grocery workers working at approximately 20 stores, including union and non-union retailers. But within minutes of the vote, Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier (R) vetoed the ordinance and it does not appear there are enough council votes for the supermajority necessary to override his veto.

UFCW 367’s essential grocery workers have called, written, testified and showed up for council meetings to share their personal stories of stress on themselves and their families due to working their public-facing jobs throughout the pandemic. They had already announced plans to deliver petitions today — entitled “WE ARE PIERCE COUNTY, OUR VOICES COUNT” — with thousands of signatures from workers and community members asking for Dammeier to hear their stories before he signed or vetoed the hazard pay ordinance. But the county executive announced that he would veto the measure just minutes after Tuesday’s successful vote.

“We made multiple attempts to reach him, (Dammeier) did not return calls or email,” the union reported in a statement. “He does not understand the power of working people, when you refuse to listen, we speak louder. Under his leadership, big corporations have successfully owned Pierce County.”

UFCW 367 President Angel Gonzalez said, “It takes a special kind of coward to veto a measure before listening to the workers that it will impact. Bought and paid for with corporate dollars.”

“We will not be silenced,” the union vowed. “We will still be visiting Dammeier at his office in the Pierce County-City Building at 1 p.m.” It is at 930 Tacoma Ave S. in Tacoma.

“We always knew that Dammeier wanted to veto this measure,” Gonzalez said in a video message to members. “We always knew that he is ideologically opposed to workers having fairness and justice. We knew that. His voting history is clear. His ways are clear. But we had hoped that by listening to you, by listening to your stories, he would support this measure because it’s the right thing to do… (But) he did not want to meet with us. He refused to meet with us and listen to your pleas and stories, and he just vetoed it.”

Before being elected Pierce County Executive, Dammeier served in the Washington State Legislature where he had just a 14% voting record on working families’ issues from the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. During his tenure in Olympia, he repeatedly voted to weaken wage standards and the safety nets for injured and unemployed workers.

 


UFCW 367 has over 8,000 members in grocery and retail in Pierce, Mason, Thurston, Grays Harbor, Pacific, and Lewis Counties. UFCW Local 367 is part of UFCW International, the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Learn more about UFCW 367 at ufcw367.org or Facebook and the UFCW at ufcw.org.

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Posted by on May 5 2021. Filed under LOCAL. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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