Picketers stood in front of the Gig Harbor Fred Meyer earlier this month to spread awareness of contract negotiations between employees grocery store managers. It was just one of many locations across the Puget Sound where grocery store workers picketed.
Three unions are working on contract negotiations: UFCW 21, UFCW 367 and Teamsters 38. Negotiations have been ongoing since March, according to a news release from UFCW 21 Communications director Tom Geiger.
CEOs from Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyer and QFC are proposing to modify health care coverage, cut wages and eliminate sick days for employees, Fred Meyer checker and spokeswoman Jessica Roach said on July 3.
“We are not being greedy, we just want what’s fair,” she said.
This is not the first time contract negotiations have gone on for a significant period of time. In a similar situation in 2010, workers negotiated from March to November with no compromises, they said. Grocery store workers voted to strike that November, according to the UFCW 21 website, and 94 percent of workers approved the strike.
Before workers went on strike, a compromise was reached.
Roach said this year’s negotiations are not going well.
A number of grocery store workers from around the area gathered at Fred Meyer to join the picket line. Roach stood in front of the store to spread word to customers.
“Today we are informing customers that we are in contract negotiations,” Roach said.
As a checker, Roach interacts with customers every day.
“I know customers on a personal level and have received a lot of support,” she said.
Picketers asked customers to wear a sticker in support. Workers gave away about 300 in the two hours they were outside, Roach said.
Customers also were encouraged to talk to managers to show support for employees.
“We’ve had a positive reaction so far,” Roach said.