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Hoffa to rally with Fred Meyer Teamsters on Friday

Join Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa, International Vice Presidents, community members, and elected leaders for a march and rally in support of Teamsters at Fred Meyer.

Hundreds will rally at the Fred Meyer Distribution Center in Puyallup to demand a fair contract for Teamster grocery workers at Fred Meyer.  The rally will take place this Friday, Sept. 9, at 2 p.m. Meet at the Puyallup Recreation Center (808 Valley Ave NW). Download/print the rally flier.

Contract talks between Teamster grocery warehouse workers and Fred Meyer have stalled because the company has refused to address its employees’ concerns over the rising cost of health care. An extension agreement between Teamsters Local 117 and Fred Meyer expired at midnight on Aug. 15.

The union points to the growing disparity in the amount that employees at the Fred Meyer distribution center pay toward their medical coverage as compared with other workers in the industry. During the term of the expired labor agreement, employees’ premium share, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums more than doubled.

“The general public needs to know that Fred Meyer is putting an undue burden of medical costs on the backs of its workers and their families,” said Teamsters Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer Tracey A. Thompson.  “When corporations like Kroger, the owner of Fred Meyer, make hundreds of millions of dollars in profit off the backs of their workers, those corporations have an obligation to ensure that those workers have the best family medical coverage available.”

Safeway, SuperValu, and Unified Grocers settled their contracts in early August, leaving Fred Meyer as the only Teamster grocery warehouse in the area that has not reached an agreement with the union.  In August, Fred Meyer employees voted in overwhelming numbers to authorize a strike.  The contract at Fred Meyer’s distribution center in Puyallup covers 362 employees.  The facility serves approximately 140 stores in Washington, Alaska and Idaho, and more stores in the Western Region.

Workers in the grocery warehouse industry perform physically demanding work under a tight production standard.  They work in ambient, refrigerated and freezer warehouse environments, manually lifting and moving heavy cases and operating forklifts and pallet jacks to receive, load and stock grocery products.

Fred Meyer is a subsidiary of Kroger, Inc., a company based in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Kroger reported more than $75 billion in revenue in 2010.  In the first quarter of 2011, Kroger’s profits were $432.3 million, an increase of 16%.  Teamsters Local 117 represents approximately 16,000 members, with more than 1,000 members employed in the grocery warehouse industry.

For more information, contact Paul Zilly of Teamsters Local 117 at 206-441-4860 ext. 1269.

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