Thirty thousand members of UFCW Locals 21 and 367 and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 38 in Washington state are covered by contracts at grocers Albertsons, Safeway, Fred Meyer and Quality Food Centers and many other local independent stores that are up for bargaining this year. As the companies have proposed elimination of healthcare, cuts to pay, and denied paid sick days, UFCW and Teamsters members have responded with more solidarity than ever.
In the month of July, hundreds of members of the three union locals were joined by hundreds of community supporters at informational pickets in front of stores in more than ten communities to seek the support of customers as they try to reach a fair deal. The next week, they leafleted thousands of fans at “Union Solidarity Night” at the Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field.
“All we’re asking for is fair pay and benefits for our hard work,” said Barbara Rhodes, a UFCW Local 21 QFC deli worker and member of the bargaining team.
“That lets us focus on caring for our families and taking care of the customers that depend on us.”
By mobilizing the customers they serve every day and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their union brothers and sisters and community supporters, members of the locals are hopeful they will be able to build a better future for all grocery workers in the Pacific Northwest.