Grocery store workers in the Seattle area from UFCW Locals 21, 367, and Teamsters Local 38 voted by an overwhelming majority to pass a new contract. The final proposal by the big national chains Safeway, Albertsons, and Kroger (which operates Fred Meyer and QFC) dramatically changed in the final hours of negotiations and a tentative agreement was reached less than two hours before a strike would have gone into effect on October 21st at 7 p.m.
“I started working in the grocery business over 40 years ago. The proposals we saw this time from the employers were some of the worst I have ever seen. They tried to turn us into Walmart. They did not succeed,” said Dave Schmitz, President of UFCW Local 21.
Workers retained high quality affordable healthcare with no cuts to workers’ benefits and no increases to premiums, deductibles, or out of pocket expenses.
Pensions plans are secured for meat department and grocery store workers.
There will also be a modest wage increase for workers at the top rates of pay and grocery chains agreed to pay increases for workers at the lowest rates of pay. There are also pay rate increases for the second and third years of the contract.
During the contract campaign, workers successfully defeated the proposals that threatened to eliminate healthcare coverage for part-time workers and increase healthcare costs. Workers also defeated the proposals to cut holiday pay and freeze the pay for grocery store workers for three years.