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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 18 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 42
Grocery update - Will there be a strike? Here's what to do if there is
Section One
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Grocery update - Will there be a strike? Here's what to do if there is

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

As SGN went to press Thursday afternoon, grocery workers were still bargaining with the Big Three grocery chains - Safeway, Albertson's, and Kroger (QFC and Fred Meyer) - in a last-ditch effort to avert a strike.

'It is still uncertain whether a strike can be avoided,' according to UFCW 21, one of the unions representing 30,000 grocery workers affected.

'Safeway, Fred Meyer, QFC, and Albertson's continue to propose major changes to health care coverage, which would result in benefit cuts and/or substantial cost increases for workers.

'The employers are also proposing no cost-of-living increase for the entire term of the contract and are actually advocating the reduction of wages in several ways, including a significant decrease in holiday pay and cutting wages of our lowest paid workers. The gap between employer and union proposals remains very large.'

72-HOUR NOTICE PROMISED
The unions involved in the bargaining - UFCW 21 and 367, and Teamsters 38 - have agreed to give 72 hours' notice if a strike will occur. The unions and their supporters will hold a 'Protecting Our Community 72 Hour Vigil' at Westlake Park, downtown at 4th Avenue and Pine Street.

'A giant clock will be there to count down to the end of the 72 hours,' UFCW 21 says. 'We will count down every hour, day and night, until a tentative agreement is reached or a strike is called.'

The unions also promise periodic actions - including actions at 48 hours and 24 hours before a strike - to dramatize that the grocery bargaining is not only about the specifics of a union contract, but also about the quality of life for everyone.

The website www.standwithourcheckers.com has been set up to provide updates on the situation. The site also features a list of alternative unionized grocery stores, in case workers have to strike the Big Three.

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