Grocery workers to strike Monday, hope for last minute deal

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SEATTLE — The clock is ticking down to a grocery workers strike that could have a big impact on consumers. UFCW21 issued its 72-hour notice to strike at 7p.m. Friday, and by Saturday night, the union said the two sides were still at odds.

“This is a serious time,” union spokesman Tom Geiger said.

Grocery workers are working around the clock gearing up to walk off the job, something that hasn’t happened since 1989.

About 21,000 grocery workers across Western Washington hope a deal will be made before they are forced to strike on Monday.

“There are a lot of people working at grocery stores that don’t get paid enough for their work and don’t get enough hours,” Geiger said.

The union said the current proposal could mean part-time workers would lose their health insurance, there would be no wage increase over the next three years and holiday pay could be diminished.

“In this day and age I know how much executive salaries are going up and it just doesn’t seem right to me,” shopper Stephanie Ducharme said.

QFC, Albertsons, Safeway and Fred Meyer are the companies at the bargaining table.

Ducharme said she supports the workers. “This is going to have a huge ripple effect,” she said.

Ducharme stocked up on groceries at Fred Meyer Saturday because she does not want to cross a picket line.

Others had no sympathy for the grocery workers.

Grocery strike update“There are so many people looking for a job, and now they want more and more — work things out instead of you know putting us into it,” shopper Marlene Gonzales said.

“We stand together,” Geiger said.

Workers have made picket signs, a makeshift clock and held a food drive for families.

The counties impacted are King, Snohomish, Pierce, Thurston, Mason and Kitsap. Thousands of warehouse workers and truck drivers will also be given the choice to honor the picket line so that could be another big problem.

A spokesperson for the grocery stores said they are focused on giving workers a “solid compensation package of pay and benefits.”

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  • Skip

    The store employees work weekends, nights and holidays in order to keep the stores open in our 24/7 world. They deserve respect and living wages. Large corporations are trying to turn the USA into a worker's nightmare like China.

  • Isaiah

    If you don't like the pay, don't APPLY for the job. When companies can't find people to work for the wage they are offering, they will raise wages until someone will work for it.
    Unions actually take money out of your pocket. (Dues, inflation of costs, strikes, etc.)

  • jared

    i worked for safeway, they are trying to take away holiday pay, health care for those working under 30 hours, less paid sick days, and hardly a raise to be seen.

    • jeff

      Of course, the Affordable Care Act has nothing to do with companies having to reduce hours for workers right? We all know President B.O. and policies from Washington D.C. have no effect on wages at all.

  • <?>_<?>

    You are not worth the money to corporations, not one corporation gives a crap about you. They will squeeze their best workers from their company and bring in kids to fill your job for peanuts. And when you leave the company, they will fight any effort of yours to move on to other companies and the other companies will play along with them. Once the middle class has been weakened, it will be puddy in their hands while the government writes no laws to stop it.

  • jeff

    I will not change my shopping at all. In fact this is a reason why people should start going to Safeway, and Albertsons. I'm going to make it a point to go to these places to shop while this strike is going on.

    • Gazen Kuren

      If you are a worker, then you're working against the interests of your own class, and ultimately, against yourself. If you are a capitalist or a manager, then get ready for good ol' fashioned class-warfare son.

  • Ralph

    The big stores haven't handled the roll-out of hard liquor very well and they lose lots of money from shoplifting and theft. Maybe they need better managers and pay the employees more.

  • Gazen Kuren

    honor those picket line Teamsters! If the trucks don't deliver the goods, then it's a done deal. With just-in-time delivery these days, the companies put a noose around their own necks!

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