Workers at Grand Central Bakery's Northwest Portland production facility filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday, Nov. 22, requesting a union election.
The facility's 45 bakers and dishwashers produce all of Grand Central Bakery's bread for the Portland area. Workers would be voting on whether or not to join the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 114 union—which also represents bakers at Portland's Franz, Bimbo, Safeway, Albertsons and Fred Meyer.
In a release, workers say they are organizing over four issues: "a high rate of on-the-job injuries, egregious mishandling of sexual harassment cases, chronic understaffing, and a demand for improved wages and benefits."
Grand Central Bakery sells products in Portland and Seattle and has a total of 400 employees. The union drive is taking place only at the Northwest Portland facility.
"Grand Central's public image of being connected to the community and progressive values appears at odds with the conditions described by the bakers and dishwashers who work there," Portland workers said in a statement.
Claire Randall, the company's CEO, tells WW she is surprised by employees' claims.
"We try to be the best employer we can and also put employees at the center of our business," Randall says. "I'm learning as much as I can about the process of unionization and of course support employees' rights to explore that."
Randall also contests claims that Grand Central Bakery is unsafe, doesn't handle sexual misconduct claims, understaffs or underpays.
She says the company takes workplace safety seriously and "quickly addresses issues" brought to management's attention; that it has a sexual harassment policy that it trains staff on and that it "immediately responds" to complaints; that is currently fully staffed; and that the company works to improve wages every year and offers a "competitive health insurance package."