Grocery strike threatened in Puget Sound

By The Associated Press

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SEATTLE — About 21,000 grocery workers in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston and Mason counties could walk off the job Monday evening at four grocery chains if no contract agreement is reached, a union spokesman said.

United Food and Commercial Workers spokesman Tom Geiger said 72-hour strike notice was given Friday night to QFC, Safeway, Albertsons and Fred Meyer stores.

The strike vote would not affect Clallam and Jefferson counties. Unionized grocery workers on the North Olympic Peninsula operate under different contracts.

Seattle countdown

The union erected a giant strike countdown “clock” at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle as negotiations continued.

Union members in the six Puget Sound counties have rejected current proposals and voted to authorize a strike, Geiger said.

He said unresolved issues include wages, holiday pay and “even cuts to [workers’] cherished health care plans,” adding that the two sides have been in talks for more than six months.

Allied Employers Vice President Scott Powers is the employers’ lead negotiator.

Noting the 72-hour strike notice, Powers said in a statement: “This does not change the fact that the only way to work through the remaining issues is at the bargaining table.”

The last area grocery strike was in 1989 and lasted nearly three months.

Last modified: October 19. 2013 11:22PM
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