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.
“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.”