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Victory

Washington Grocery Store Workers Ratify New Contracts

July 21, 2022

Over 25,000 members of UFCW 3000 who work at Safeway / Albertsons, Fred Meyer, QFC, Town & Country Markets, Metropolitan Market and other independent grocery stores in western Washington recently ratified new contracts. The ratification votes took place between April and early July.

The three-year contracts did not come about easily. Over the past year, these essential workers united and signed thousands of strike pledges, took actions in their stores and communities, and stood with UFCW local unions in Washington, Colorado, and California in support of our mutual negotiations for better contracts. These actions, coupled with UFCW Local 3000’s tradition of joint bargaining with Teamsters 38, led to the historic advances in these 2022 contracts.

Key provision of the new contracts include:

  • Wage increases of $4 to $9 an hour over the term of the agreements 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 percent 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 the health care plan, maintaining and improving high-quality health benefits with no increase in costs for members.
  • Increased funding for the 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, who works at an Albertsons store in Auburn, Wash., and served as a bargaining team member. “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,” said Jeff Smith, who works at a Fred Meyer store in Snohomish, Wash. “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.”