Negotiators representing four grocery chains and union grocery workers are meeting Thursday and will continue through Friday, a United Food and Commercial Workers spokesman said Thursday.
Representatives from UFCW Locals 21 and 367, and Teamsters Local 38, are meeting with representatives of Fred Meyer, QFC, Safeway and Albertsons at an undisclosed Seattle-area location, said Tom Geiger, grocery workers spokesman.
The union negotiators represent some 30,000 Western Washington grocery workers. Union members have authorized a strike if initial negotiations are unsuccessful. Geiger said picket signs have been printed and delivered.
Meanwhile grocers have posted advertisements and signs calling for applications from workers who would replace strikers if a strike is called.
“The hope is that the employers will come to their senses on this,” Geiger said. “My hope would be that sometime late tomorrow night that I’m able to send out a communication.”
A grocer representative was not available for comment Thursday afternoon.
UPDATE, 3:20 p.m.: We received a statement from Scott Powers, negotiating on behalf of the grocers, via email:
“We are currently focused on working through the issues with the union at the bargaining table. Our goals are to reach an agreement that is good for our associates, providing them a solid compensation package of pay and benefits; and good for the companies too, so they can be competitive and continue to provide good, stable jobs. We are focused on those important objectives.”
BACK TO ORIGINAL POST: If a strike is called, the unions will give grocers, members and shoppers notice 72 hours before any action would begin.
To sign up for text alerts concerning possible strikes against groceries, shoppers may text the word Checkers to 313131. A reply message asks for a zipcode. When grocery employees go on strike at a store in that zipcode, shoppers will receive an alert and suggestions of other open stores in the area.
UPDATE, 9:30 p.m. Saturday: Geiger said negotiations continued all day Saturday, and will resume Sunday as long as progress continues.