Labor
10:54 am
Tue October 22, 2013

No Strike! 11th Hour Deal Averts Grocery Showdown

With just two hours left on the strike countdown clock, a tentative agreement was reached on Monday night between grocery workers and four major chains: Safeway, Fred Meyer, QFC and Albertson’s.

The unions are not commenting beyond a press release issued on Monday, which states that the tentative agreement has been unanimously recommended by the team. The next step is to schedule votes for the union members. Details will not be released until after the votes have taken place.

Health care was a major sticking point, according to the unions. They said last week that the grocery chains want to move employees working fewer than 30 hours a week to government health exchanges. The unions also said the employers refused to increase wages and wanted to stop paying time-and-a-half on holidays.

The union bargaining team from UFCW 21 and 367 and Teamsters 38 had been negotiating with the chains since contracts expired – most of them in May. Grocery workers authorized a strike when talks became more contentious and last Friday, the unions called for a strike which put the negotiations on a 72-hour countdown that would have expired at 7 p.m. on Monday.

KUOW's Isolde Raftery contributed to this report.