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Grocery workers authorize strike; show your support!

SEATTLE (Sept. 27, 2013) — Thousands of Puget Sound-area grocery workers have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike at Safeway, QFC, Fred Meyer and Albertsons stores over how those companies are gaming the Affordable Care Act to try to cut health care benefits for employees and their families by cutting their hours. After voting that took place over the last several days, fully 98% voted to authorize a strike, which could come as soon as Sunday after a mandatory 72-hour notification period. Some 30,000 workers in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties could walk off the job.

Grocery workers announce the results of their strike authorization vote on Sept. 26. (Photo courtesy of IAM 751.)

Grocery workers announce the results of their strike authorization vote on Sept. 26. (Photo courtesy of IAM 751.)

The unions negotiating as a team in these contract talks are United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 21, Teamsters Local 38, and UFCW Local 367.

“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 who is a member of UFCW 367. “But if they force us to strike, we are ready.”

“To the CEOs of Safeway, Fred Meyer, QFC, and Albertsons, it’s time to bring a serious proposal to the table, one that recognizes the loyalty and the dignity of grocery workers. Hiding behind the Affordable Care Act is disingenuous and immoral,” said Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO (WSLC). “Should the CEOs continue to show such disrespect for the workers and force them to exercise the strike authority then the WSLC and our 400,000 members will do everything we can to support the grocery workers until a fair and just contract is signed.”

Already, unions and their community supporters throughout the region are getting the word out that a strike may be imminent and families should make plans to do their grocery shopping elsewhere.

UFCW-IBT-grocery-picket-signs“We take great pride in the grocery stores where we shop. If checkers and clerks are not treated fairly, we are all hurt by this,” said Michael Ramos, Executive Director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle. “Without a good contract, we will act from our values and take our business to where employers put good jobs at the top of their food chain.”

TAKE A STAND! Here are two quick and easy ways you can stand with area’s the grocery workers:

1.  Right now go LIKE the Stand With Our Checkers support page on Facebook and then click SHARE to share it with it everyone. Facebook pages aren’t the only answer, but showing grocery store employees that you stand with them also sends a message to the big grocery store CEOs. We want to have 1,000 shoppers as fans by the end of Friday — if all you help, we’ll get there.

2.  Sign up for the “Strike Alert Service.” Stand With Our Checkers is hosting this service — they’ll text or email you when a store in your zip code is on strike and will send you a list of alternative stores in the area. Text the word Checkers to 313131 or sign up here.

For more information, visit the new website set up to support grocery workers:


CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!