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Central Puget Sound grocery workers ratify new contract

3-year deal includes wage increases of $4 to $9 an hour, gains in safety and training, health care benefits protected with no increased costs, a secured pension and more.


The following is from UFCW 3000:

DES MOINES, Wash. (May 2, 2022) — Frontline essential grocery store workers stayed on the job during the pandemic, ensuring our communities had the food, medicine, and supplies we all needed. While the employers made billions of dollars in profits, essential workers were denied the respect, protections and pay they deserved. Over the past year, workers across Western Washington united and signed thousands of strike pledges, took action in their stores and communities, and finally this week, they won this new contract.

Last week, UFCW 3000 members overwhelmingly ratified a new contract agreement covering more than 18,000 primarily grocery store workers in central Puget Sound working at Albertsons/Safeway, Fred Meyer, QFC, Metropolitan Market, Town and Country and others. The UFCW 3000 members in outer counties on the Peninsula and northern counties and some independents will vote in the coming weeks. All total, this contract will affect about 25,000 UFCW 3000 grocery store workers.

The many improvements in the ratified contract include:

●  Wage increases of $4 to $9 an hour over the term of the agreement for the most veteran workers.

●  Elimination of lower pay scales in departments such as deli, bakery, fuel, and e-commerce, which are disproportionately staffed by women, immigrants, and people of color.

●  An increase of 150% in wage escalators – the required minimum amount for each raise in the wage scales, creating a larger “bump” from inflation to the minimum wage.

●  Increased funding to our health care plan, maintaining and improving our high-quality health benefits with no increase in costs for members.

●  Increased funding for our pension – one of the few pensions in the nation that has been able to make the leap from “Red Zone” to “Green Zone” status following the funding crisis caused by the 2008 financial crash.

●  Stronger ability for store-level Safety Committees to address serious safety issues, beyond just COVID protections.

●  A half million-dollar contribution from the employers to fund the new Workplace Training program (WE TRAIN WA), allowing pathways to higher paying positions and career mobility within every store.

“This new wage scale moves us one step closer to having a single pay scale for everyone in the store,” said Kyong Barry, grocery store worker and bargaining team member (Auburn, Albertsons). “An hour of work is an hour of work, regardless of what department you are in, and we deserve to be compensated equally.”

“This contract is a historic deal. No one in our industry in this region has ever seen wage increases like this and it will go a long way to address inequities in Fred Meyer stores,” said Jeff Smith, grocery store worker and bargaining team member (Snohomish, Fred Meyer).

This new contract did not come about easily. Throughout the COVID pandemic, union members fought hard for safety. We fought for hazard pay. We fought for respect. We did not win every fight, but we showed the employers that we are willing to take them on and we proved that the public had our backs.

Over the past year, we gathered in Contract Action Teams and trained picket captains store by store, and, we united UFCW local unions in Washington, Colorado, and California to fight together for breakthrough contracts. UFCW 3000 staff went to support other grocery store workers’ contract fights, including the 10-day strike in Colorado. Here in Washington, we continued our tradition of joint bargaining with UFCW 3000 and Teamsters 38. We made these historic advances in this 2022 contract because the employers knew we were ready for a fight, and fully prepared to strike if necessary.

Read more at UFCW 3000’s website.

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