Workers at the Mercer Island New Seasons Market are being offered severance benefits equivalent to what the company said it was providing employees at its Ballard store as part of a plan to merge with the parent company of Metropolitan Market, according to a spokesperson.
A New Seasons spokesperson said Friday that workers at the Mercer Island store who do not accept a job with New Seasons in Portland or Metropolitan Market will be offered “transition pay.”
Earlier in the week, employees at the store were under the impression that they would not be given the job search assistance, transition pay and extended healthcare the company described in a news release announcing its merger with Good Food Holdings, according to one employee at the Mercer Island store, who asked not to be identified to protect future job prospects.
After an earlier version of this story was posted on Friday, the New Seasons spokesperson responded to inquiries about the severance for Mercer Island workers, attributing the delay to efforts “to ensure staff were informed first.” Asked to clarify whether Mercer Island employees would also get job search assistance and extended healthcare, she said, “the two stores are getting equivalent support and we don’t have anything else to share at this time.”
On Tuesday, Portland-based New Seasons said it would close its store in Ballard by the end of the year and Metropolitan Market would take over the Mercer Island location by mid-2020 as part of a merger with Good Food Holdings, owned by an arm of South Korean retail conglomerate Shinsegae Group.
The Mercer Island employee said there was confusion about the situation at the store for the coming months, including whether employees would be able to retain their positions and pay levels in any transition. “We want answers as employees and we’re getting this unclear, murky smoke-and-mirrors answer to everything we’re asking,” the employee said.