Grocery workers prepare for strike

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SEATTLE — Grocery store workers in Seattle are busy preparing and prepping picket signs — the next step before a strike.

“The employers need to drastically change these proposals or we are going into a strike situation,” union representative Tom Geiger said. Geiger said the union and management are still far apart in their proposals. The sticking points remain health care, holiday pay, and wages.

On Wednesday, the two sides are holding their last scheduled meeting. If a deal isn’t reached, the union will likely issue a 72-hour notice to strike. That means as soon as this weekend, shoppers at QFC, Fred Meyer, Safeway and Albertsons may have to decide whether to cross picket lines to buy their groceries or shop elsewhere.

The union and management could schedule further negotiations, but that seems unlikely at this juncture.

“I’d go straight into the grocery store,” Kevin, a Safeway shopper on Capitol Hill, said. “It doesn’t concern me at all. I gotta eat.

Other shoppers, like Kenji, said they would try to avoid picket lines even if it was an inconvenience.

“I would find a different store to shop at that does provide (workers) with benefits for their employees, because it’s what they deserve,” she said.

Geiger said the union is bolstered by the support of 1,000 grocery workers in Mason and Thurston counties that have vowed to join a strike, but he’s not sure that will help in the negotiations. It’s why employees are now working on the worst-case scenario, creating thousands of picket signs and preparing for a strike.


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  • Stoat

    “I’d go straight into the grocery store,” Kevin, a Safeway shopper on Capitol Hill, said. “It doesn’t concern me at all. I gotta eat.”

    Agreed, and any thuggish attempts at intimidation or ANY attempt to block my legal entrance into the store or harass me in ANY way in the parking lot will be met with the sort of response that will make any belligerent Union thug wish that he/she had stayed at home.

    My real concern is not for myself but for elderly and timid folks who may be frightened away by loudmouthed, tough-talking Union thugs and perhaps prevented from getting essential food items or medications from the pharmacies in these stores. There are a LOT of people who live in areas where "going to a different store" is simply not possible due to their lack of mobility and the distances involved….or perhaps they simply aren't aware of any other options than the local store they've been going to for 20+ years.

    Any injuries or deaths due to a person being frightened to enter one of these stores will be blood upon the Union's hands, but of course they will never admit any responsibility or show any slight concern.

  • Paul

    I agree as well with the hoodie guys comment. No one should be blocked from entering a neighborhood grocery store. Having a safeway 1 block from my house is one of the reasons I live on Capitol Hill. I wouldn't be concerned with "Union thugs" though, this is the northwest and the majority of people don't want a confrontation.