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09/27/2021

New Seasons/New Leaf Raises Starting Pay for Staffers

Wage updates continue indies’ investments in competitive compensation, benefits
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
Bridget Goldschmidt profile picture
New Seasons/New Leaf Raising Starting Pay for Staffers
New Leaf Community Markets VP Forrest Gonsiewski said the starting-wage increase implemented by the grocer and New Seasons Market would help them "retain and attract the best people from within the communities we serve."

West Coast sister grocers New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets will increase starting wages to $16.25 per hour for staffers across the retailers’ stores in Oregon, Washington state and California, effective Oct. 6.

As well as higher starting pay, the independent grocers will adjust wage scales to recognize the contributions of all hourly store staff. These wage investments will raise the average pay of current hourly staff to $19.98 per hour at both banners, building on each retailer’s established culture of providing competitive pay and benefits.

“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,” noted Nancy Lebold, CEO of both banners since  April. “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 and New Leaf were early adopters of a $15-per-hour starting wage and invest 25% of every sales dollar back into compensation and benefits programs. As B Corp. Certified grocery stores, New Seasons and New Leaf also offer comprehensive benefits packages, including robust health care, paid parental leave, secure lifestyle scheduling, paid volunteer opportunities and career development.

Additionally, New Seasons successfully campaigned to raise the Oregon state minimum wage in 2016 and increase affordable housing in 2018. The company has also endorsed legislation to require fair and predictable scheduling for retail workers.

Added Forrest Gonsiewski, New Leaf’s regional VP, “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.”

In other recent news, New Leaf is donating $30,000 to organizations dedicated to helping farmworkers, with the funds to be divided between two groups aiding communities in the grocer’s market area: the Center for Farmworker Families and Ayudando Latinos A Soñar. 

Portland, Ore.-based New Seasons Market employs nearly 3,500 associates at 19 stores in Oregon, Washington and Northern California, serving a unique mix of locally sourced and organic items, classic grocery favorites, and chef-made grab-and-go meal solutions, while Santa Cruz, Calif.-based New Leaf is an organic and natural grocer with five stores along California’s Central Coast. Both banners annually give 10% of their after-tax profits to support local nonprofits, and both are independent operators within the Good Food Holdings family of brands. A subsidiary of Emart, which is part of The Shinsegae Group, a global retailer in Seoul, South Korea, Carson, Calif.-based Good Food Holdings is the holding company for five food retailing brands: Bristol Farms, Metropolitan Market, Lazy Acres Natural Market, New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets.

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