Gateway: News

US Rep. Kilmer introduces new legislation to protect grocery workers

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer spoke with Haggen employees on Monday afternoon (Dec. 14) at the Gig Harbor Cutters Point coffee shop in the Uptown Shopping Center.
U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer spoke with Haggen employees on Monday afternoon (Dec. 14) at the Gig Harbor Cutters Point coffee shop in the Uptown Shopping Center. lgiles@gateline.com

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer met with grocery store workers and representatives from the United Food and Commercial Workers local 367 union Monday in Gig Harbor to discuss a new bill designed to protect workers.

The proposed legislation would remove the noncompete clauses that grocery workers face as a condition of their employment.

“A noncompete seems particularly unfair to me,” Kilmer said.

Kilmer met with Haggen employees at the Cutters Point in the Uptown Shopping Complex in Gig Harbor for a roundtable discussion about the difficulties they faced during the transition when Haggen initially purchased the stores and through the chain’s bankruptcy and closure.

Terry O’Toole, an employee from the Gig Harbor Haggen, was one of the workers who talked with Kilmer.

“I think this (bill) is a good start,” O’Toole said.

Denise Jagielo, president of UFCW local 367, agreed: “It’s definitely a step in the right direction. We can’t go back and change what happened, but we can change the future.”

After the roundtable, the employees and union representatives accompanied Kilmer to the now empty Haggen storefront on Point Fosdick Drive.

Kilmer said that he doesn’t see a change in the consolidations that have been happening within the grocery industry, but he is hopeful that this legislation will give the workers some protection.

Andrea Haffly, The Peninsula Gateway

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