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Local Grocery Workers Approve Tentative Deal with Employers

Some 21,000 local grocery workers have overwhelmingly approved a tentative deal with their employers.

“They tried to turn us into Walmart, and they did not succeed," said Dave Schmitz, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21.

The union had reached a last-minute tentative agreement with QFC, Fred Meyer, Safeway, and Albertsons earlier this month after the workers issued a 72-hour strike notice following failed negotiations. Wages and health care had been the sticking points.

Tom Geiger, a union spokesman, said the union managed to defeat the employers’ proposals to eliminate health care for part-timers and essentially freeze wages.

"We hope we can avoid the brink in the future,” he said.

Geiger added the union negotiated a raise for the lowest-paid workers, and a moderate raise for the highest-paid workers.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.