Three Teamsters union locals in Washington and Oregon have ratified a new contract for Safeway.com grocery home delivery drivers.
Tukwila, Wash.-based Teamsters Joint Council 28 said late yesterday that the new three-year pact, approved by Teamsters Locals 174, 162 and 313, provides more than 120 members with “major improvements to economics and workplace protections,” including against the use of independent contractors for Safeway.com home delivery drivers over unionized drivers.
“When Safeway.com management first came to the bargaining table, their goal was to get rid of us entirely by using DoorDash and other third-party gig workers to deliver groceries, but we stopped them in their tracks,” Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks said in a statement. “They came in with a strong position to eliminate our Teamster members completely, at one point even offering up to 52 weeks of separation pay. Once management realized they were not going to be successful in their mission, they stepped up and worked with us to deliver this incredible new contract that protects our members on the job while also rewarding them for the hard work they performed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”
Albertsons Cos., the parent of Safeway, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
In January 2021, Albertsons confirmed plans to cease its own online grocery delivery operation in some market areas and shift exclusively to third-party delivery service providers. Albertsons said at the time that it would discontinue use of its own home delivery truck fleet in 10 states beginning Feb. 27, 2021, which would result in delivery worker layoffs.
Albertsons Cos.’ third-party food and grocery delivery partners currently include Instacart, DoorDash, Uber Eats and Shipt. The Boise, Idaho-based company this year announced expanded delivery with Uber Eats and DoorDash. More than 90% of the retailer’s nearly 2,300 stores now offer on-demand delivery of groceries and/or food through partners.
Teamsters Joint Council 28 — representing Teamsters unions and members across Washington, Alaska and northern Idaho — noted that the new contract also now allows Safeway.com delivery drivers to accept tips, which could “dramatically improve workers’ hourly take-home pay.” The agreement, too, brings solid wage and pension increases, stronger seniority provisions in route selection, safety improvements and Martin Luther King Day as an additional holiday, the union said.
"This contract is a testament to the power of solidarity," said Nick Lansdale, Teamsters Local 313 Secretary-Treasurer.
"Our members stood together with the members of Local 174, Local 162 and the Teamsters International and spoke loudly with one voice, telling Safeway.com we would not let them outsource our work,” stated Nick Lansdale, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 313. “Thankfully, the company heard us, and the result is a strong contract our members were proud to ratify unanimously.”
In August 2018, Teamsters Local 174 reported that a group of about 90 grocery home delivery drivers working for Safeway.com in the Seattle area — including some 60 drivers from Local 174 and 30 drivers from Local 313 — became the first truck drivers for online grocery home delivery to unionize and secure a contract.
“We are proud of our members for standing strong and having confidence in their bargaining committee, which led to this strong contract that will benefit them for many years to come,” Hicks added regarding the new contract with Safeway.com. “We also thank IBT Warehouse Division Director Tom Erickson and Teamsters Local 162 Secretary-Treasurer Bob Sleight for backing us 100% in this fight. We were in constant contact with them throughout this process and received tremendous support.”