Union Workers in Washington State Authorize Strike

Union workers at major grocery chains in the Issaquah and the Puget Sound regions of Washington voted Wednesday to authorize a strike, but there will likely be no walkout as stores prepare for the start of the holiday shopping season.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 represents workers about 25,000 workers at Albertsons, Fred Meyer, QFC, and Safeway across the region. The vote also affects grocery and meat workers in Mason County and meat workers in Pierce and Thurston counties.

According to published reports, the union and Allied Employers, the labor relations firm representing the grocery chains, reached a stalemate in October after months of negotiations about pay, health benefits, and pensions.

While 94 percent of union members voted to reject a contract offer from the grocers and authorize a strike, a contract extension should keep workers on the job until Monday. Workers have remained on the job under one-month contract extensions since contracts expired months ago.



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