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Contracts Covering 30,000 Grocery Workers In The Puget Sound Area Are Up For A Vote

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Grocery store workers in the Puget Sound region came very close to going on strike in late 2013, but recent contract negotiations have gone more smoothly and workers are voting this week on a tentative agreement, with results expected tomorrow.

The contracts cover about 30,000 workers at big grocery chains such as QFC, Fred Meyer, Safeway and Albertsons around the Puget Sound area. Employees at independent grocery stores such as Metropolitan Market are also covered. They’re represented by Teamsters 38 and Locals 21 and 367 of United Food and Commercial Workers.

UFCW 21 spokesman Tom Geiger said that after reaching a hard-fought labor agreement two and a half years ago, employees kept up their activism in the workplace.

"Members have been taking action in their stores, meeting as leaders on a regular basis since then and we really went into the 2016 negotiations fully prepared for a battle, if it was necessary," Geiger said.

He wouldn't disclose any details of the tentative agreement until votes are tallied. But he said the bargaining committee unanimously approved the proposal.

Scott Powers, a labor negotiator representing the grocery stores, declined to comment. 

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.
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