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Washington Unions Give Strike Notice

SEATTLE — Union locals here and in Tacoma, Wash., have given three employers 72-hour notice of their intention to strike if a contract settlement cannot be reached, though negotiations are ongoing. The 72 hours will expire Monday at 7 p.m.


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Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 21 here and Local 367 in Tacoma, along with members of Teamsters Local 38, have voted over the past few weeks by margins between 98% and 99% to authorize a strike if they cannot reach agreement on contracts that expired in early May, early August and early October.

The contracts are with Albertsons, Safeway and Kroger-owned Fred Meyer and Quality Food Centers, which collectively operate approximately 225 stores in Washington state covering approximately 20,000 workers.

According to the union, the major issues in the talks include management proposals to require part-time workers, who comprise approximately 50% of the work force, to get health benefits through the Affordable Care Act; to freeze wages at the rates negotiated in the 2010 contracts; to eliminate premium pay for holidays and evenings; and to continue not to pay for sick days (an issue that was eliminated in the city of Seattle by a municipal law passed since the last contract negotiations but which has no impact on workers in stores outside the city).

The union said it is launching a food drive for workers who may go on strike.


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