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Bellingham Macy’s workers win improved safety conditions in new contract

Retailer doesn’t budge on annual general wage increase

Samantha Wilson, a Macy's union employee, leads fellow strikers in a chant on Black Friday, Nov. 24, 2023, in Bellingham. (Isaac Stone Simonelli/Cascadia Daily News)
By Isaac Stone Simonelli Enterprise/Investigations Reporter

Unionized employees at Bellingham’s Macy’s were among 400 workers at the retail chain in Washington to accept a new contract after months of battling with the company.

The new contract, voted on by United Food and Commercial Workers International Union 3000 Macy’s employees in Bellingham, Lynnwood and Tukwila, secured significantly higher ratification bonuses, improved wages and created better safety conditions, including protection from retaliation for calling 911.

“There’s definitely a lot of good things in the contract,” said Samantha Wilson, a two-year veteran at Macy’s who was a picket line leader in Bellingham in 2023. “We definitely wish we could have gotten more than the 50 cents, but you can’t win everything when you’re negotiating.”

Employees originally balked at the company’s annual general wage increase for the three-year contract of 50 cents an hour.

“We’re not happy about the 50 cents more an hour,” said Macy’s employee Debbie Walk at a Bellingham picket line during Black Friday weekend in 2023. “It’s really expensive to live here.”

While the wage increase was not what employees had hoped for, the increased security measures are seen as a significant win.

“The new contract addresses a lot of the safety concerns though, which was a really big one for a lot of our associates,” Wilson said.

Workers overwhelmingly voted to accept the new contract following the Black Friday strike and a re-launched picket line at the Macy’s Alderwood Mall that ran from Jan. 15–23.

“Macy’s sales associates, beauty consultants, and other employees who belong to UFCW 3000 stood together and won,” said Faye Guenther, president of UFCW 3000, the largest UFCW local in the nation. 

“This agreement sets a new gold standard for retail workers across the country, both in the fight and in the outcome.”

Isaac Stone Simonelli is CDN’s enterprise/investigations reporter; reach him at; 360-922-3090 ext. 127.

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