Workers from multiple Seattle-area Homegrown stores go on strike

Sep 14, 2023, 6:26 PM | Updated: Sep 15, 2023, 11:07 am

Image: A sign over the entry at Homegrown in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood (Photo: Jamie Griswold,...

A sign over the entry at Homegrown in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood (Photo: Jamie Griswold, MyNorthwest)

(Photo: Jamie Griswold, MyNorthwest)

Homegrown restaurant workers say they’ve had enough.

About 150 employees from six Seattle-area stores are out on strike. They say their goal is to unionize and gain a better life for themselves and their families.

According to a statement from strike organizers — multiple bargaining sessions have failed to produce a fair contract. Sticking points include wages, affordable healthcare, job security and workplace safety.

For employee and spokesman Russell Concha, whose wife also works for Homegrown, healthcare for his family is most important.

“We really want affordable health insurance that we can pay with working just one job so I can have time to spend more time with my family,” Concha said.

“I need affordable healthcare for my two kids and my husband, who has heart issues. Right now I’m uninsured because the cost is too expensive. There’s no way I can afford $800/month on my pay,” Homegrown worker Millie Saucedo said, according to Fight Back!. The outlet Fight Back! bills itself as a newspaper that “provides coverage and analysis of some of the key battles facing working and low-income people.”

Workers in Homegrown filed for union elections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in October 2022 after their strikes, company-wide delegations, picketing, and leafleting of customers and clients.

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Homegrown stores were closed in Redmond, Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, U Village, Mercer Island, and Southcenter Thursday.

Simultaneous strikes happened at those six Homegrown locations. A combined demonstration occurred on Mercer Island Thursday afternoon.

About a year ago, workers at Homegrown went on strike over reported workplace issues including heat, smoke, gender pay disparity and a COVID sick-day policy.

Homegrown management has not responded to our requests for comment.

James Lynch and Kate Stone are reporters at KIRO Newsradio. Bill Kaczaraba is an editor at MyNorthwest.

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Workers from multiple Seattle-area Homegrown stores go on strike