Skip to main content

Originally published October 19, 2013 at 9:51 PM | Page modified October 21, 2013 at 11:24 AM

  • Share:
  • Comments (19)
  • Print

Scant progress in grocery talks; strike deadline Monday night

Union leaders reported only slight progress after bargaining Saturday, which increases the odds of a strike Monday night at four grocery chains.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
Kaiser Health Tracking Poll Do you favor or oppose, "Having a national health... MORE
The ratio of CEO-to-worker pay has increased 1,000 percent since 1950, according to dat... MORE
Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower-- "Only a handful of reactionaries... MORE


As 21,000 grocery workers approach a strike deadline Monday night, union leaders say negotiations Saturday yielded only minimal progress.

Tim Geiger, spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers, said employers withdrew their proposal to reduce entry-level pay to the minimum wage, now $9.19 an hour, instead of continuing to pay a dime higher. The union seeks a 25-cent differential.

“It’s an odd thing to celebrate,” to stay a dime ahead, he said at a rally in Seattle’s Westlake Park, attended by 80 people.

A strike is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Monday with clerks and meatcutters from Safeway, QFC, Albertsons and Fred Meyer stores in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston and Mason counties.

In a statement, employers’ negotiator Scott Powers said: “These companies remain focused and committed to reach an agreement that is good for our associates, providing them a solid compensation package of pay and benefits; and good for the companies too, so they can be competitive and continue to provide good, stable jobs.”

Average pay for experienced clerks is $15 an hour, and meatcutters can rise to around $20, but about half the workforce is part time, and it can take eight years to reach the top, Geiger said.

He said employers are trying to shift people who work fewer than 30 hours a week out of a high-quality health plan, and force them to find coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

A larger rally is planned at Westlake at 7 p.m. Sunday.

“The companies can afford to give us what we’re asking for. They just don’t want to do it,” said Vinod Goswami, a Ballard Fred Meyer employee.

“Every time we go to bargaining, our wages are going down, so we are going from the middle class to the poor.”

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

 Subscribe today!

Subscribe today!

99¢ for four weeks of unlimited digital access.


Partner Video


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►