As of this morning, we are twelve hours away from a possible strike against Fred Meyer, Safeway, Albertson’s, and QFC by our brothers and sisters in the United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 21. The hardworking members of Local 21 are trying to negotiate a new contract with the big chains, but so far, they have been unable to reach an agreement. UFCW Local 21’s members have authorized a strike in the event an agreement is not reached by 7 PM tonight.
In preparation for the strike, the chains have begun putting out signs announcing that they may soon be hiring temporary workers (or scabs, in union parlance).
If there is a strike, we ask that all of our readers honor it by not shopping at any Fred Meyer, Safeway, QFC, or Albertson’s store until the workers agree on a contract with the management of these companies, which are represented by Allied Employers. Stand in solidarity with UFCW workers — don’t cross a picket line.
And even if there isn’t a picket line, don’t go into a store where workers have walked off the job because they were unable to obtain a fair contract.
Here are the sticking points in the negotiations, according to UFCW:
- No healthcare coverage for everyone working less than 30 hours a week (and that means they will cut hours so no one works more than 30 hours/week).
- No time-and-a-half on holidays
- No cost of living wage increase and massive cuts in many parts of their contracts.
Negotiations have been ongoing for months, but have not resulted in an agreement. Time is running out and it looks like a walkout could be imminent.
UFCW has posted a map and a list of all of the local, unionized grocers in Western Washington where you can take your business during a strike. If you’re into eating healthy and eating organic, you’ll be glad to know PCC Natural Markets is on the list of stores that are safe to patronize. You can also shop at Metropolitan Market, Haggen, Top Food & Drug, or Uwajimaya stores.
UFCW also has a list of pharmacies in King County that will be unaffected by the strike. Hopefully they’ll update that list to make it more comprehensive.
By boycotting the aforementioned big chains in the event of a labor dispute, you’re supporting their workers’ efforts to win a fair contract.
The Stand has more information about the negotiations between UFCW and Allied Employers (Fred Meyer, QFC, Safeway, and Albertson’s).