SEATTLE (Oct. 22, 2013) — More than 21,000 Puget Sound-area grocery workers narrowly averted a strike Monday night when their bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with the national grocery chains Safeway, QFC, Albertsons and Fred Meyer. Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 21 and 367 and Teamsters Local 38 will be voting in the coming days on ratification of the contract that has been unanimously recommended by the bargaining team.
The agreement was announced just two hours before a 72-hours’ notice of a strike was to expire and a walkout would have begun. The grocery store workers, other union members and community supporters had all mobilized to set up pickets at the national chains’ stores in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston and Mason counties and to begin shopping in alternative stores.
Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson released the following statement Tuesday:
“We are so proud of the grocery workers, the members of UFCW and the Teamsters. This victory was not only about a fair and just contract for themselves but it was a victory for the labor movement. These workers put their jobs and livelihoods on the line to stand up against corporate greed and the inequality that corporate America has created. The grocery workers success, our success, was due to the fact that they had the community standing with them. For months, community members have been educated about the struggle and when the time was right they were willing to stand with their checkers. Our hats are off to the rank-and-file grocery workers, the union leaders and staffers, and the community who stood up for workers everywhere and said ‘enough is enough, it is time to take back the middle class’.”
The grocery unions say that the times and locations of contract ratification meetings will be announced in the coming days after arrangements have been made to schedule the votes.