Local Grocery Store Workers Could Go On Strike Next Week


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[DISCLAIMER: B-Town Blog Publisher/Editor Scott Schaefer is a member of the Directors and Writers Guilds of America, both unions that represent workers in the entertainment industry.]

We learned this week that numerous local grocery store workers from three different unions — UFCW 21, UFCW 81, and Teamsters 38 — will likely vote on whether to authorize a strike or not sometime next week.

Local union members work at Safeway, QFC, Albertsons, and Fred Meyer, and a strike could affect holiday shopping in the Burien area.

Striking grocery store workers could affect holiday shopping in the Burien area.

Apparently some 25,000 grocery store workers have been in negotiations since March 2010.

On Tuesday night (Nov. 2nd) the Union member bargaining committee recommended to members that they Reject their employers’ proposal and take a strike authorization vote early next week.

On March 10th, we reported on a labor dispute at the Burien Fred Meyer – read all about it here.

The B-Town Blog plans to cover this issue as it unfolds, so please check back.

According to the UFCW21 website:

The big grocery chains we’re negotiating with — Safeway, Fred Meyer, QFC, and Albertsons — are among the largest corporations in America. Their CEOs are paid millions a year.

We don’t expect to get rich from our jobs.

But we believe that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should have a chance to get ahead with:

  • Fair wages to make ends meet
  • Quality, affordable health care
  • A secure retirement
  • Dependable work schedules
  • Paid sick days

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Comments

12 Responses to “Local Grocery Store Workers Could Go On Strike Next Week”
  1. Coverofnight says:

    Isn’t that photo above from an earlier construction labor dispute? If so, is it fair to run it at this time for a different union?

    As much as I hate unions and before I comment on this issue – to be fair, I’d first like to hear what the workers have now versus what’s offered relative to:

    * Fair wages to make ends meet
    * Quality, affordable health care
    * A secure retirement
    * Dependable work schedules
    * Paid sick days

    Can anyone post this information? Thanks!

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    • B. Meyers says:

      I suppose the quick answer is, the cap on our wage means some of us are stuck at a wage were they are making 150.00 a week, they want to raise they price we already pay for insurance as well as cut our benefits. And only give us 24 HR notice of a schedule change. And not pay us for sick days unless we miss 3 days then the 4th day and after are payed with a Dr. note. We want, A higher wage cap, to pay out the same and to get the same benefits as before, Have a 75 HR notice of schedule change, and get payed sick days on the 1st day with a DR note.
      Okay so hears how I feel, I want to work. I want to keep what I started with at the very least. That’s all.

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      • feral dog says:

        Hey Rainy, welcome back. Haven`t changed I see my good friend.. Missed your candor here. You going to to try and have a movie this weekend if it doesn`t rain?

        B. Meyer, I`m with you guys all the way on this. I won`t shop those store if you guys chose to strike and or ask for a boycott not to mention the fact it wouldn`t be worth losing a friendship over. You guys should not even need a dr`s note unless you have expired your accrued sick days which should be a minimum of 40 hrs a year.
        And those store chains make plenty enough money to offer affordable health care for you and your families.
        Let your union really know how you feel and demand them to bring those benefits to the table. Solidarity is what it`s going to take.
        Hey Rainy, is this where I need to turn my hat sideways?

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      • Bonnie says:

        I work for one of these companies too. I disagree with QuickCarrot in one aspect. I have worked at my job for 18 years and have only called in sick one day. The only time I ever got to use my sick pay was so I could take care of my daughter after she had knee surgery. I think senority should mean something and at the company I work for it means nothing. Since I am a full time employee I have to be available any hours of the day and sometimes am penalized when I ask for a day off because they say if I ask for a specific day off I am restricting myself so therefore they can give me less then 40 hours a week.. We do not have regular hours or regular days off so if you need a day off for an appt you have to ask for it off. There are people who do call in sick who like you say are probably just hung over and I too agree this is wrong. I have to say at least at the store I work at that most of the senior employees are more reliable then the ones that are newer. I for one do not believe a strike will help any of us. The only people who win in a strike are the companies as they can hire scabs and not pay any benefits or holiday pay, etc. The last 3 contracts they have taken things away from us. Time will tell if people will vote for a strike authorization

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        • QuickCarrott says:

          True that the last three contracts have had take-aways. I think this just shows how poorly the unions are at adapting to the ‘younger’ more modern mind-set. The majority of the employee’s simply want enough to buy the new xbox, and get out. Tell me, when was the last time you saw anyone under 25 at the monthly union meeting? The stores are going to come up with the best deal to save them money and increase profits. That is just smart bussiness. The unions have not changed in DECADES. It’s the same message over and over and over. We find new ways to get customer’s to buy the same can of green beans in our store as they have at their store. Why can’t the unions come up with something new? My issues here are with the unions letting their members down, not the employers. I rarely call in sick. I have a ‘full bank’ of sick leave. I get sick pay from the first day as it states in the contract. Too many employee’s treat the job as a hobby. What they don’t get is that it affects many peoples lives. This is the unions responsibility to communicate just as much as the employer’s!
          Eventually, a contract will be sighned, and you won’t see a union rep for months…just like before.

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  2. rainycity says:

    Hi again all,
    I had chosen to lurk on this board rather than post for a while now but dammit C.O.N.
    ( I Iove the way its spells “con”) should spell troll but what the heck.
    The grocery workers have been taking hits and cuts even when the economy was good.
    What was your first clue the photo was from an earlier contract dispute? Couldn`t have been the fact it`s in black and white could it? hehehe
    I was following their last contract closely and fully supported their going on strike to protect what they HAD, (past tense)
    Those guys do not get paid what they should be, (just look at the turnover ratio at your local store) and think back to their last contract negotiation if you can get your head out of your ass far enough to look back that far. Oops, never mind, I forgot you feast on your own shit.
    But at any rate, do us a favor and don`t comment on it,, we don`t need, and don`t want to hear what negative comments you have to say so do us a favor and keep them to yourself. For some strange reason I have a feeling if you ever COULD get a union job you would be the first one to cross the picket line and scab.

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  3. Robin says:

    I thought Coverofnight’s post was reasonable .. just gathering information. I was wondering the same myself.

    Twenty years ago, in another state, many members of my family lived well working as grocery clerks – it was almost better than a government job. Perks, perks, perks. Based on Meyer’s post that is no longer the case, which is a shame. Obviously food isn’t cheaper than it was 20 years ago, so who’s living it up now? It’s a shame to see a decent job get flushed down the toilet. So, what is it like to work at a Thriftway or Red Apple? Is there a store I should patronize to show support of good jobs? I would happily do so.

    Also, I didn’t know we were limited to positive comments only? What about a negative comment on a previous post?

    Rainycity, your comment about negative comments is quite negative. Oh, the delicious irony 🙂

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  4. QuickCarrott says:

    I work for one of these companies. I work my tail off week in and week out. I can tell you that there is not ONE WEEK that goes by that someone calls in sick. Usually after a day off. I don’t think that it’s fair that someone can go out, party, get hungover, then not come in to do their job. If a doc note is required, you can get one easy. They are never specific, because they don’t have to be. Should someone get paid for being lazy and irresponsible? I don’t think so! The union needs to change the way they do things. They protect the bad along with the good. I am at the botom of the list as far as senority goes, but I am available 24/7, so I get close to 40 hours a week. I am sick of hearing from the more senior employee’s saying they are “owed” certain shifts and certain hours! They are owed nothing but what is in the contract! I am not woried about a strike. Not in this economy, not this year. The union failed us along time ago. I never hear from a union rep unless I am late on my dues or we have a vote coming up.

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  5. Smapgrafle says:

    Once again, we have the unions meddling as they always do.

    We are in a recession. We also are experiencing food inflation at a staggering rate over the past 2 years. The food chains have been holding back on raising prices, because they know that most people (including their employees) cannot afford the true price of food. They are going to have raise prices, which will cut into their profits and operating expenses.

    What the people of the union (and those who support them) don’t realize is the actual cost of wages and insurance. In a recession, you cannot afford to employ people as you would during the good times. That is a fact. The chains are only adjusting their expenses to keep up with the cost of selling the food during this economic downturn in the first place.

    As for that damned sign out front of Fred Meyer (held proudly by illegals who are making minimum wage, no less), it’s untrue. Where are you going to go to buy food if the grocery chains aren’t in business? 7-Eleven? The Farmers Market? An overpriced butcher shop? The unions are so full of crap, and are nothing more than protection rackets. Good luck not joining the union if you want to work at one of these chains.

    Isn’t it ironic that the same people who support these unions helped to vote the same people into office that have sought policies which have prolonged this recession, and put us near depression? Isn’t it also ironic that the same people from the same party were voted in handily in this city and the surrounding area? Good luck over the next 2 years trying to convince people otherwise.

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  6. Smapgrafle says:

    So, why is this page being moderated for “negative” comments? I thought the blogosphere was about “free speech”? If you give a conservative viewpoint (ie. TRUTH), are you going to censor my post, Mr./Mrs. Webmaster?

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  7. Eaton B. Verz says:

    Greetings Smapg….

    People like you make my day! You are so wrapped up in your twisted thoughts you really just do not get it. But that is the beauty of this country, even you have the right to voice your opinion and call it truth! All these workers are doing is exercising their rights to try to earn a living wage and reasonable benefits. If Fred Meyer is being that damaged by the union why don’t they try to break it? There is good and bad on both sides but study the history of labor in this country and then tell us how well off we ALL would be without the unions. Just for my curiousity, I bet you live on the west side of Ambaum. Right? Maybe even on Lake Burien…..

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  8. Rainycity says:

    Robin,
    Oh the delicious irony of someone who has trouble with their comprehension.,
    I specified the C.O.N. mans negative comments, not everybody`s.
    Yours are fine beings how by reading and understanding what you wrote that you don`t know which side of the fence you’re on anyways, kind of like the kid that wants to fit in but just can`t seem to find the right way to so so.

    Smap, Stick to the C.O.N. moniker, it fits you better and at least I can pronounce it and know what it means.
    I love this quote by you,
    “What the people of the union (and those who support them) don’t realize is the actual cost of wages and insurance”.
    Yeah, I suppose only people that aren`t in unions can understand what making money, trying to better the life of you and your families and having some kind of insurance means.
    Quickcarrot,
    Seniority should mean something, unionized or not, you mention the union failed you years ago and in almost the same breath you say you are at the bottom of the seniority list which basically means you are a new hire and don`t have years in yet. Those people with seniority put in their dues of working the odd shifts, missing their kids` piano recitals and school assemblies. Lets see how you feel in a few years when you build up some seniority and some new hire comes in wanting to work YOUR shift that you put in time to get and whines like you are. You don`t like working a union job obviously, so why are you?
    I need to get back to work, I`ll finish this later..

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