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Grocery workers authorize strike; talks resume Oct. 10
Grocery workers in Western Washington gave a 98 percent approval to authorize a strike against Fred Meyer, Safeway, QFC and Albertsons stores.
Dave Schmitz, president of UFCW 21, announced the vote results Sept. 26.
Workers in King, Snohomish, Kitsap and Pierce counties voted over whether to authorize a strike.
Management is still proposing a contract that would cut pay (including holiday pay) and cut benefits (including elimination of health care coverage for those working less than 30 hours a week), according to UFCW 21.
Bargaining talks will resume on Oct. 10 and 11, said UFCW 21 spokesman Tom Geiger on Sept. 27.
"Our expectation is that they will come with a set of serious proposals," Geiger said in an email.
Before any strike, the union must give 72-hours notice to employers.
Scott Powers, the lead negotiator for Allied Employers, which represents Albertsons, Fred Meyer, QFC and Safeway, said in an email last week he expected talks to resume.
"A strike authorization vote is not unusual," Powers said. "The important thing is that we get back to the bargaining table and do the hard work of putting a negotiated settlement together. The employers are focused on reaching agreement on a fair contract that is in the best interests of their associates, customers and businesses."
Grocery store employees are ready to out on strike if an agreement cannot be reached.“We hope the employers come to their senses and make a fair proposal that respects me and my co-workers and our families," said Jessica Roach, a Fred Meyer worker, at a Thursday press conference at UFCW 21 headquarters in Seattle. "But if they force us to strike, we are ready."Grocery store workers have been in contract negotiations since March.