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Spokane Kroger, Albertsons workers ratify contract

Three-year pact provides wage increases, benefit improvements

Grocery workers in Eastern Washington state have ratified a new, three-year contract that includes wage increases and other benefit improvements, and no increases to health care premiums or deductibles.

The contract, which covers workers at Kroger- and Albertsons-owned stores in the Spokane area, was the first to be negotiated by United Food and Commercial Workers 3000, which was formed in 2022 by the merger of UFCW Local 1439 and UFCW Local 21. UFCW Local 3000 now represents 50,000 workers across much of Washington, northeast Oregon, and northern Idaho.

“This is our first union negotiations since we became UFCW 3000, and our combined strength has helped us win a contract with record wages and major contract improvements,” the union said in a statement on its website.

The contract covers meat, grocery, and checkout workers at Fred Meyer, Safeway, and Albertsons stores in the area. It includes wage increases of $4 or more for journey positions, and retroactive payment going back to the Jan. 20 contract expiration, the union said. It also includes increases in wage escalators, which trigger pay increases when the minimum wage goes up and when workers move through the apprentice rates.

The contract also includes terms around vacation pay to ensure that workers earn vacation based on hours worked, and automatic pension funding increases that increase in tandem with wage increases.

Also included is money dedicated to fund training and development, and stronger safety language to address key safety issues, the union said.

According to local reports, the union had been seeking large pay increases in the negotiations, which began last November. Workers picketed outside stores in March, claiming that union grocery workers in Western Washington state were paid at a higher scale.

At that time, the retailers were offering pay increases of $2 per hour, the reports said.

Neither the union nor the retailers could be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, UFCW Local 3000 also said a vote on a new contract has been scheduled for May 13 for Safeway meat and grocery department workers in the Cheney, Wash., area, following six months of negotiations. The union bargaining committee will present a tentative agreement from Safeway, and union members will have the opportunity to discuss the terms of the offer before voting, the union said.

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