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More grocery workers authorize strike

grocersSEATTLE — More area grocery store employees voted to join the battle for more pay and better benefits as workers in Thurston and Mason Counties voted to join a potential grocery strike Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday, approximately 1,000 grocery store workers voted to authorize a strike during meetings in Olympia. More than 98 percent of workers from UFCW 367 voted to authorize a strike, officials said.

Union leadership says contract proposals from companies representing four major grocery store chains have been disrespectful’ as negotiations continue.

Contract talks between union leaders and grocer companies began back in March. Union leaders say the latest proposals included no pay raise for three years, major cuts to benefits and healthcare and slashing holiday pay.

Talks resume between the two groups today. If negotiations break down, then workers could go on strike at a number of QFC, Safeway, Fred Meyer and Albertson’s store. Denise Jagielo, the president of UFCW 367, said employees play and benefits should match the money CEOs are raking in.

“The companies are doing well and the CEOs of these companies are being paid millions as they propose to cut the pay and benefits of their working class employees and that is not acceptable,” Jagielo said.

According to one union representative, crews will begin to assemble strike signs around noon Wednesday.

Union leaders must give grocery stores a 72 hour notice before walking out.

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