Over 21,000 grocery workers could be on strike starting tonight, unless a deal is made to resolve issues surrounding wages, holiday pay and health benefits for workers. Stores with potential strikers include Safeway, QFC, Albertson’s and Fred Meyer from King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston and Mason counties. Ballard’s Safeway, QFC and Fred Meyer would be included in the strike.
Tim Geiger, spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers, told the Seattle Times that 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.
My Ballard Forum members have been weighing in on the strike for a couple weeks now, and magia76 posted this today:
“I would starve rather than cross a picket line. The working poor employees at these stores are our friends, family and neighbors. It’s personal for me because my adult son (father of a 4 year old) has been a grocery worker for the past five years. After 5 years of working graveyard, on his feet stocking shelves and doing heavy lifting the entire 8 hours, he makes only $14 per hour. Not enough to support himself and his child.”
For people who don’t want to cross the picket line, nearby strike-free stores include the Ballard Market, PCC in Fremont, and Metropolitan Market in Magnolia. Unless a negotiation is reached, the strike will begin at 7 p.m. tonight.