Western WA grocery strike set to start at 7 p.m.


by Associated Press and KING 5 News


Posted on October 21, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 21 at 2:00 PM

SEATTLE  -- Union leaders for about 21,000 workers at four major grocery store chains in the Puget Sound area are threatening a strike at 7 p.m. Monday unless they reach an agreement on a labor contract with employers.

A strike by the United Food and Commercial Workers could affect QFC, Safeway, Albertsons and Fred Meyer stores in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston and Mason counties.

Issues include wages, holiday pay and health care benefits.

The grocery stores are negotiating through the Allied Employers group. It says it wants a solid pay and benefits package that for workers that allows the companies to be competitive.

Union workers have been at Westlake Park since Friday night and were ready to stay there until Monday's deadline and beyond if need be. They say they are sticking to their guns, ready to fight for better wages and better benefits.

People have been signing a huge poster board in the park that reads "Tell us why you support grocery workers" in a show of solidarity for the tens of thousands of workers around Puget Sound.

Meanwhile, some shoppers say they've planned ahead; some have not.

"We decided to load up on groceries this past week, just to get the basic essentials 'cause if the clerks go on strike, then the truckers are going to go on strike, because they're sympathetic to their cause, so they won't deliver" said Angelo Guerrero, shopper.

The last grocery strike in the area in 1989 lasted nearly three months.

See an interactive map of alternative grocery stores by city.