Teamsters at Fred Meyer vote to strike (see update)

UPDATE (Oct. 4) — Fred Meyer, Teamsters reach tentative contract agreement

The following was distributed Sunday afternoon by Teamsters Local 117.

TUKWILA (Oct. 2) — Nearly 300 Fred Meyer warehouse workers, outraged over their employer’s ongoing refusal to bargain in good faith with their Union, took a final vote this weekend to strike.

On Sept. 1, Teamsters Local 117 filed unfair labor charges with the National Labor Relations Board accusing Fred Meyer of 10 violations of federal labor law, including bad faith bargaining.  Despite stating that it would bargain with the Union over health care for its warehouse workers, Fred Meyer continues to engage in unlawful surface bargaining to thwart its warehouse workers’ attempts to obtain quality, affordable medical care for their families.

The Union has made a number of proposals regarding health care, including a wage cut to achieve the same Teamsters health care coverage that other unionized warehouse workers in the Puget Sound region have.  The Union also proposed a company medical plan that would at least provide comparable benefits to Fred Meyer warehouse workers.  Fred Meyer flatly rejected both proposals, and offered nothing in response.

“Fred Meyer’s arrogance is astounding. Apparently, this billion dollar corporation thinks that it’s above the law,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.  “We came to the bargaining table this week with two reasonable proposals.  They did not come to bargain,” Thompson said.

Thompson stated that the Union has not received a formal proposal from the company in over six weeks.  “We have agreed to get back with the company tomorrow, but I have no confidence that they in fact will bargain in good faith with the Union.”

Fred Meyer is a subsidiary of Kroger, Inc., a company based in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Kroger reported over $75 billion in revenue in 2010.  In the first half of 2011, Kroger’s profits exceeded $700 million. Teamsters Local 117 represents approximately 16,000 members, with over 1,000 members employed in the grocery warehouse industry.

► Also see: at Seattle.ILCAonline.org — Contract negotiations at Fred Meyer Distribution Center break down over health care (One of the stories written by labor journalists from around the country who attended last month’s ILCA Convention in Seattle.)


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