Kilmer to file bill to protect grocery workers’ rehiring

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer will discuss with grocery workers Monday legislation he is proposing to protect their right to seek new jobs in the grocery business after their stores are shut down.

Kilmer will talk with Haggen grocery employees beginning at 1:30 p.m. at Cutters Point Coffee, 4735 Point Fosdick Drive NW, Gig Harbor.

Haggen, headquartered in Bellingham, bought more than 100 former Safeway and Albertsons stores in the West after those two grocers were forced to sell those stores as a condition of their merger last summer. Haggen was unable to manage the transition, and fell into financial difficulty this fall. Haggen has sold most of those stores and has scheduled a final auction of its remaining stores in the new year. Under a noncompete clause in their employment contracts, former Haggen workers were unable to apply for jobs with the acquiring grocers.

Kilmer intervened and got the Federal Trade Commission to issue a waiver of that prohibition in the Haggen matter, but he is proposing legislation that will automatically allow workers to seek new jobs in the grocery business after their former employer closes down.

John Gillie: 253-597-8663