New Seasons, New Leaf Increase Starting Wages

New Seasons Market

Photograph courtesy of New Seasons Market

As unprecedented labor shortages persist, New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets, independent operators within the Good Food Holdings family of brands, have increased starting wages at their stores to $16.25 per hour for staff across Oregon, Washington and California, effective Oct. 6. The pay is higher than the minimum wage in all three states. In addition to higher starting pay, the grocers said they would adjust wage scales in order to recognize the contributions of all hourly store staff. These investments will raise the average pay of current hourly staff to $19.98 per hour across the banners.

“Supporting staff with competitive pay and benefits is a deeply rooted commitment aligned to the founding values of New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets,” said Nancy Lebold, CEO for both banners, in a statement. “Grocery workers are vital to the success of our regional food economies. This investment will advance equity in our stores and continue moving the food industry to support livable wages for all workers.”

“New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets share a commitment to progressive policies and programs that nurture staff and the communities served by the grocers’ combined 24 stores,” said the company. The banners were early adopters of a $15-per-hour starting wage and invest 25% of every sales dollar back into compensation and benefits programs.

As the first B Corp Certified grocery stores, New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets said they also lead the industry with comprehensive benefits packages that include healthcare for all kinds of families, paid parental leave, secure lifestyle scheduling, paid volunteer opportunities and career development.

Recent benefit investments include scholarship programs for interested staff to earn their Retail Management Certificate; providing access to continued education and professional development opportunities; and the expansion of parental leave eligibility to part-time staff, effective in the 2022 open enrollment period. New Seasons Market also introduced a childcare tuition benefit through Oregon-headquartered KinderCare Education to ease the challenges of working parents in its stores and store support office.

“With this starting wage investment, we’re leading among other regional retailers as we work to retain and attract the best people from within the communities we serve,” said Forrest Gonsiewski, regional VP at New Leaf Community Markets.

New Seasons Market is well versed in the minimum wage conversation. It successfully championed campaigns to raise the Oregon state minimum wage and increase affordable housing in 2016 and 2018, respectively. New Seasons Market has a longstanding practice of secure scheduling, and the company has endorsed legislation to require fair and predictable scheduling for the retail workforce, the company noted. New Seasons Market has also advocated for statewide paid family and medical leave, and marriage equality to increase protections for all types of families.

It has also encountered some tangles with workers seeking to organize over the years.

Founded in Portland, Ore., in 2000, New Seasons Market emplys nearly 3,500 staff across 19 stores in Oregon, Washington and Northern California— serving a mix of locally sourced and organic items, classic grocery favorites, and chef-made grab and go meal solutions.

“We’re proud of our progressive values— from offering industry-leading compensation and benefits, to committing 10% of our after-tax profits to the communities we serve,” says the company.

Having served its community for 35 years, New Leaf Community Markets is an organic and natural grocer with five stores along California’s Central Coast. It is the first grocer in California to achieve B Corporation certification, according to the company.

Good Food Holdings is the holding company for five food retailing brands including Bristol Farms, Metropolitan Market, Lazy Acres Natural Market, New Seasons Market, and New Leaf Community Markets. Each brand has its own leadership team, company culture, operating philosophy, and go-to market strategy. Good Food Holdings is a subsidiary of Emart, which is part of The Shinsegae Group, a leading global retailer in Seoul, South Korea.


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