Grocery workers begin vote on strike authorization

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by KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on November 7, 2010 at 7:28 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 8 at 7:53 AM

SEATTLE - Grocery store checkout lines may soon get longer if union workers decide to hit the picket line.

On Sunday, union workers turned out in Seattle to vote on a strike authorization which would affect Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, and QFC stores.  A strike could hit as early as Thanksgiving.

Union members say negotiations have gone nowhere for months on proposed wages, pension, and health care.

"The employers themselves have said their last, best, and final offer is not yet proposed, you should maybe ask them why not. After nine months you should be able to get pretty much anything done in your life in nine months, I think," said Tom Geiger, UFCW Local 21 Communications Director.

A few employees coming out of the Seattle Center exhibition hall, the site of the meeting, told KING-5 they don't like the idea of a strike, and want the union to go back to the bargaining table.  But many more said they were rejecting the current proposal and hopes that a strike authorization pushes the grocery store chains to come back with a better offer.

"Hopefully, this vote, and every one of the votes in the next few days will send a clear message," said Pam Betancourt, a union member from Covington.

"We have to raise our children, and I've been working there for five years," said Angela Kenyon, who works at a Safeway in Burien. "And what they're having to offer, even for the new employees... it's just unfair."
 

Union meetings for workers to cast their votes take place through Wednesday at various locations. 

Another vote would be needed before the workers could strike.
 

 


 

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