No strike yet: Grocery chains, workers to talk again Thursday

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SEATTLE — About 30,000 grocery workers in the area could be on the verge of walking off the job, and they are hoping consumers will support their cause.

A spokesperson for the grocery stores says negotiations are expected to continue Thursday.

Grocery workers strike negotiationsIn the meantime, four grocery store chains are getting ready for a strike. And workers are preparing, as well.

Angel Shields says she makes $9.29 an hour at the Capitol Hill Safeway.

“We are actually struggling just to make it to the next day,” Shields said.

Even though she works at a grocery store, she says putting food on the table for her son is a daily challenge.

“Hopefully we keep our health care plan the same way that is now, that would be easier for everybody,” said Shields.

Her biggest concern is over a proposal that would minimize health care for employees working less than 30 hours a week.

Holiday pay could also be reduced with no promise of a wage increase for the next three years.

“I might as well work in a sweatshop,” said Safeway employee De Von Anderson.

That frustration has about 30,000 grocery workers prepared to strike.

Customers will have to decide whether to cross picket lines at Albertsons, Fred Meyer, QFC, and Safeway if a deal is not reached.

The grocery chains are already in the process of hiring temporary workers.

“I don’t want customers to shop because I don’t want them to support what Safeway is trying to do to us,” said Shields.

One customer says a strike would keep him away for a few days but he believes many others will not change their shopping habits.

“If your low-income or on a fixed budget, you are going to cross the picket line if that is the cheaper thing you can do,” said customer Dana Tade.

Either way, workers are stocking more than food. Thousands of signs are on standby, ready for action if the union gives its 72-hour notice of a strike.

“I’m giving 100%, no complaints. But you are going to cut my pay, take my medical away from me, what’s the use of working here?” said Anderson.

Employees say if a strike happens, customer service will suffer because they believe temporary workers will not perform the duties as well as they can.

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  • Kit

    Costco will be getting more of my business if there's a strike. The grocery stores are giving away booze to any thief that wanders by, so no wonder they're losing money. Come on, management do the right thing.

  • Big dog

    Our local Family operated store will be my choice, there's always Target and (God forgive me) Walmart, remember if your a union member support our brothers and sisters.
    We all need to remember our grandfathers and grandmothers fought hard to get the benefits we enjoy today. Some of them gave their lives for what we have. Lets not give back what was worked so hard for.
    40 hr work weeks, paid vacation, sick leave are just a few of the benefits we all enjoy because of the fight our unions fought long before any of us were born. All that stuff wasn't just given to us out of the kindness of their heart it was fought for. One last thing NEVER GIVE BACK.

  • Jimmy john

    C’mon. Are you good people blind??? Yes I believe in making a living but c’mon….. You bag groceries, cut meat and stock shelves and you demand 15+ $/hr???? If you really want to make a better living maybe it’s time to get an advanced career to justify your wants. Not to mention the attitude I always get with very poor service at our local Safeway. Please explain this to me? Unions had a good use at a time but now they just raise ridiculous wages and instil a self entitlement which continues to permeate in the retarded strikes.