Grocery Strike Update: North Bend Safeway, QFC on Strike Countdown

30,000 Puget Sound area grocery store workers voted to strike last month if they could not get a “fair contract.”  Since that time it’s been back and forth with negotiations.  A September 29th strike was averted when Safeway, QFC, Albertsons and Fred Meyer said they would head back to the bargaining table.

And that’s where both sides stayed for nearly a week until the union announced that it had given its 72-hour strike notice to the grocery store chains at 7PM, October 18, 2013.

Unions say unresolved issues include wages, health benefits,and holiday pay.  21,000 local workers could begin striking  on Monday evening, October 21st.

According to the Grocery Union Bargaining Facebook page, negotiations continued Friday, October 18th, as the strike notice was issued, and talks continued Saturday, October 19th and Sunday, October 20th.  The union commented, “It is our desire to reach a fair settlement agreement before Monday at 7 PM. Unless an agreement is reached by Monday night at 7 PM a strike will begin.”

North Bend’s only two grocery stores, QFC and Safeway, could be impacted by the strike.  One resident said signs in both stores stated the stores were trying to hire temporary employees.  One QFC pharmacy employee said their department would also be affected by a strike.

Local shopping options for those not wanting to cross potential picket lines include Snoqualmie Ridge IGA, Fall City Farmhouse Market – in the Snoqualmie Valley; and  Trader Joe’s, Costco, Red Apple Market, Target, PCC – all in Issaquah.

The last area grocery store workers strike was in 1989 and last almost three months.

Strike countdown clock in Seattle's Westlake Park, 10/19/2013
Strike countdown clock in Seattle’s Westlake Park.

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