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Grocery shopping is becoming unusually political in Portland right now, and the details can be hard to follow. So here’s the skinny:
Employees at major grocery chains might go on strike soon, but it’s not a done deal.
The workers at Fred Meyer, Safeway, QFC, and Albertson’s voted to authorize a strike last month, but union leaders say they still want to avoid one.
What are employees asking for? Mainly higher pay, especially for women at Fred Meyer who are currently paid less than their male colleagues.
A study commissioned by the union found that the average hourly wage for female workers is $13.50, compared to $17.20 for men. The company has taken some small steps to address that gap, but the union is pushing for more.
Now for the plot twist: Last week, one of Oregon’s biggest unions proposed a new ballot initiative that would make it harder for grocery stores to replace human tellers with automated check-out machines.
Meanwhile, Fred Meyer started advertising openings for replacement workers (or “scabs,” in union speak) who would fill in if the unionized employees go on strike.
Both those moves seem like strategic bargaining chips in the contract negotiations — even though union leaders are saying the ballot initiative is totally separate.
So what happens next? We should know more later today, when union officials are expected to announce their next steps, including a possible boycott.
Check back here tomorrow and we’ll give you an update. 👍
In other news…
It’s not just “The Big One” that Oregonians should be worried about. The other big danger in our backyard is Mount Hood, an active volcano that scientists predict will erupt again “within our lifetimes.” So surely scientists are monitoring its every quiver and whisper? Well, no. No they’re not — at least not yet. (New York Times)
A small crack in the Bonneville Dam’s boat lock is causing a huge headache for one of our state’s biggest industries. Commercial barges carry about $2 billion worth of wheat, corn, and other goods through the Bonneville Dam every year, and until it’s repaired, those barges will be stuck upstream on the Columbia River with nowhere to go. (Washington Post)
A small tornado touched down in outer northwest Portland on Sunday night, and many Portlanders could see the funnel cloud from miles away. Thankfully, no one was injured, and the property damage was pretty minor. (OregonLive)
We’re keeping the Portland-themed Jeopardy rolling this month with a clue inspired by Kathy Bellant:
“‘Evergreen Medusa’ is the scientific name for this bizarre-looking tree species that first arrived to Portland during the Lewis & Clark Exposition.”
Think you know it? Check your answer in our latest IG Story, or check back tomorrow for the full scoop.
🕵️ Friday: Find a friend (or five) and compete in a 24-hour team adventure challenge with the American Cancer Society – through Saturday (NE Portland)
😂 Saturday: Hear local comedians crack their best jokes at The Big One comedy show – every Saturday (SW Portland)
💡 Wednesday, September 18: Hear innovators in design explain how they’re changing the game at Design Museum Portland’s Summer Story Hour (SE Portland)
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🎶 See Bon Iver at the Moda Center (NE Portland)
🎥 Watch a documentary about eating local (Downtown)
☕ Have coffee with a prominent developer (NE Portland)
🗣 Hear from purpose-driven biz leaders (NW Portland)
🌲 Hike and meditate in Forest Park (NW Portland)
⚽️ Cheer for the Thorns vs. North Carolina (SW Portland)
🙋 Play “Harry Potter” trivia (E Portland)
🎙️ Go to a live taping of “Live Wire” (NE Portland)
🗣️ Watch the Dems debate at Dig A Pony (Central Eastside)
📖 Hear science fiction writers read their work (SE Portland)
🇩🇪 Raise a glass to Oktoberfest season – through Sunday (Mt. Angel)
🍺 Drink up at a wizard’s beer festival (SE Portland)
✈️ Meet other women who love to travel (NW Portland)
🍽 Splurge on a colorful dinner with celebrity chefs (NE Portland)
🌹 Dress up for Rose City Comic Con – through Sunday (NE Portland)
🙏 Practice yoga in the park (St. Johns)
🎵 Catch a “School of Rock” showcase (NE Portland)
😋 Eat, drink, and dance at ¡Viva Tualatin! (Tualatin)
🚶 Join a Black Panther walking tour of Albina (N Portland)
💼 Get savvy at the Oregon Small Business Fair (NE Portland)
🎭 Witness a radio reboot of “The Maltese Falcon” (SW Portland)