Grocery workers plan to picket 2 West Seattle stores

If you go to Safeway or QFC in The Junction early Wednesday afternoon, you might see picketers. It’s not a strike, yet, explains this union announcement:

After four months of contract negotiations that cover nearly 30,000 grocery store workers, Informational Pickets have been called for 32 locations this week. The purpose of Informational Picketing is to reach out to customers about the serious challenges in the contract negotiations. While there has been progress made in negotiation sessions, there is still a long way to go to reach an agreement. Workers are increasingly feeling the pressure of understaffing, unpredictable schedules, and low wages. While the wealthy CEOs of the big national grocery store chains are making more than 300 times their average worker, the employers are proposing wage increases of only a fraction of what workers need. These grocery store workers are represented by UFCW 21, Teamsters 38, and UFCW 367.

The West Seattle picketing is planned to start at 12:30 pm Wednesday outside the Junction Safeway, one hour later outside the Junction QFC. The full regional list is here.

37 Replies to "Grocery workers plan to picket 2 West Seattle stores"

  • Seriously? July 29, 2019 (8:34 pm)

    I support the workers 100%

  • Lee July 29, 2019 (8:42 pm)

    Amazon and Walmart get a lot of hate for how they treat their workers, but not everyone realizes Kroger, the parent company of QFC, is a national retail giant on the same scale, and has many of the same problems with how its treats employees. I support these workers and I encourage anyone who cares about labor justice to do the same.

    • Esmeralda July 30, 2019 (11:54 pm)

      Having worked for a UFCW Local in the area, Fred Meyer is much worse than QFC as far as worker treatment despite both being Kroger-owned. QFC and Safeway/Albertsons regional management seemed to be much more willing to collaborate in labor disputes in my experience. Not to say I’m not supportive of the informational picketing, I 100% am, it’s just interesting to me that they are run so differently despite both being under the Kroger umbrella. Met Market’s management was also super reasonable (but I didn’t deal with them as frequently) 

  • Kevin July 29, 2019 (8:45 pm)

    Unpredictable schedules – what specifically isn’t working with the secure scheduling rules that went into place in 2017? ?  

    • Ice July 29, 2019 (9:49 pm)

      Kevin, I looked briefly over that link you posted and I just want to relate my own experience. I briefly worked at QFC in 2014. Just before I gave my two weeks notice, they slashed my hours from full-time down to about 20 hours a week for multiple weeks without explanation. To the best of my knowledge, I was in good standing, and had done nothing wrong. Luckily, I was about to jump ship anyways, and I wasn’t living paycheck to paycheck (but man I was close). If I was supporting a family and I hadn’t found a new job, that would have been completely devastating. I am not sure if that set of laws you posted would protect workers from exploitative behavior like this, but I could be wrong.

    • Shopboss July 29, 2019 (9:55 pm)

      Oh yeah,  In the secured scheduling legislation there was an out if you are part of a CBA.  It was Union written legislation passed through the council in part to encourage/force non-union shops to unionize. So those union workers can negotiate away the secured scheduling requirement by being in a CBA.  Almost all workers rights legislation from this council has had the same union out clause.  It has the potential to drive more members into the union and therefore more dues back to the unions.  Doesn’t always seem to get to the employee though.

    • Raised in WS July 29, 2019 (10:19 pm)

      Nice of you to assume all managers follow the law…

      • Shopboss July 29, 2019 (10:52 pm)

        True and if you break labor law Seattle has an Office of Labor Standards that will gammer the employer.  In this case it would be the union to file a grievance.  Either way folks are protected.

  • Greg Kerton July 29, 2019 (8:47 pm)

    I am a frequent customer of both stores.  If a strike happens, whether or not a picket line exists, neither myself nor my family will shop at either store.  We stand in Solidarity with their Union.

  • JM July 29, 2019 (9:15 pm)

    We shop at QFC almost daily. We have seen how some of the hardest working employees are treated by customers due to being understaffed. They are yelled at and are blamed for long waits due to circumstances out of their control. We will fully support the workers by not breaking the strike line. 

    • wsres July 29, 2019 (9:22 pm)

      One of the reasons I stopped shopping at QFC (among others). The managment there has always been bad.

  • carole July 30, 2019 (12:31 am)

    Kroger also owns Fred Meyer I was at the Burien FM this weekend and they have rearranged the store into chaos.  They have reclassified sundries such as wax paper, paper towels, etc., and cleaning products as home goods and placed them in the rear corner of the building farthest from food.  You have to walk past furniture, bedding, toys. they have taken all the health food items previously clustered near produce and replaced them with hard liquor. The health food items are now scattered throughout the store. Shopping is like a treasure hunt. Many seniors use that store and the distances between items can be a burden for them. I’m healthy and it was a nightmare for me, backtracking, trying to find basic items.  At 2pm on Saturday, peak shopping, the store was packed, lines were long. Only 2 checkout lines were open. No express line. Staff were encouraging people to use self checkout. I was told this is the new model for all Kroger stores. They are implementing technology to have customers scan prices on your cell phone as you put items in your cart, then auto pay through their app linked to your bank or credit card.  So you will be shopper, scanner, cashier and bagger.  And they get the benefit of your free labor.  I’m done with FM.

  • Luke July 30, 2019 (4:06 am)

    Solidarity forever!

  • aa July 30, 2019 (4:58 am)

    In my opinion, one aspect of supporting the workers is to stop using the self-service check out stations.  The more we use them, the less the management needs cashiersSure, you may have to stand on line for a bit until the management realizes they need to bring cashiers back, but to me, that is a more effective act of protest than saying you support grocery workers 100% then going in and using the self service checkout.

    • Seriously? July 30, 2019 (8:09 am)

      @aa, very well said. Support workers over machines. 

    • Luke July 30, 2019 (8:31 am)

      100% agree

    • Kadoo July 30, 2019 (3:57 pm)

      Amen! I never use self checkout. I prefer to support a real person’s job

  • Rick July 30, 2019 (5:11 am)

    I shop where I want to. Easy enough.

  • Richard Maloney July 30, 2019 (5:58 am)

    We are so done with the food retailers.  Grow your own food.  Mostly, what they sell will eventually kill you and your family.  Mistreatment of their workers is just the tip of the iceberg.

    • donttreadonme July 30, 2019 (4:12 pm)

      Pretty entitled to think that people living on the most expensive real estate in the pacific northwest have the room to grow and store the kinds of food required for independence from retail grocers. Nice for you if you do, but others are getting by with a lot less.

    • carole July 30, 2019 (8:43 pm)

      Sure, I will grow my own food in my 600 sq ft apartment.  How much can those apodment tenants raise in their 200 sq ft?  Many apartments don’t even have outdoor decks.  Not everyone lives in a single family residence with a yard.  

  • yourWSneighbors July 30, 2019 (7:06 am)

    We support the grocery workers. Thank you WSB for this information. Our family won’t cross the picket line.

  • Lola July 30, 2019 (8:24 am)

    One reason why I do not use the Self Check lines.  I have tried them before only to become agitated as the voice keeps saying put your items in the bag.  I have put them in the bag.  Or something won’t scan or their is nothing to scan cause the label is gone.  I always have to get help from the person.  Plus I do not get paid by said store to scan & bags my own grocery’s.  I will honor the picket line as well.  Union all the way. 

  • Mj July 30, 2019 (8:28 am)

    The diversity of the Admiral Safeway has improved significantly over the last few years, this is really good to see.

    • DEE July 30, 2019 (10:50 am)

       I suspect that Admiral Safeway is nicer than typical Safeway because it has to compete with Met Market.

  • Plf July 30, 2019 (9:05 am)

    I have left QFC, totally understaffed, their elevator situation is always tentative  tough as a disabled senior and do nothing about dogs that are not bonified service animals,  you haven’t lived till you see a poodle lift their leg and pee in the produce section, when I complained staff say they have been told by management not to approach the customer.  Public health should take a look, it’s a infectious disease issue and just gross

  • Airwolf July 30, 2019 (10:03 am)

    Totally support the workers and they should get more predictable schedules and better pay. And not to be rude or anything, but as far as the self-checkout I like using them. 50% of the time I was using the cashiers they would make mistakes, forcing me to go to the customer service desk and waste more time getting it corrected. I would also have to inevitably  rearrange the bags since the bagging would be horrible. With the self checkout I get it right every time plus I get to bag my groceries how I want them to be bagged.

    • Keith July 30, 2019 (3:09 pm)

      I completely agree; however, I was noticing mistakes by the checkers more than 50% of the time.

  • Shopper July 30, 2019 (11:46 am)

    I’m not a customer at either QFC or that Safeway (shop at Admiral Safeway), but also prefer to go through lines in any stores (COSTCO, Home Depot, etc) rather than do self-checkout. I can see how using self-checkout will be displacing workers, and that is certainly not what I would want to happen.

  • Lola July 30, 2019 (3:35 pm)

    Keith,  I have noticed this as well, but I also think it has to do with whomever is putting the pricing into the system.  The Grocery industry now makes it so hard to know what the price is supposed to be when they have stuff like Must Buy Two, or 5 for $5 etc, etc, etc.  I think they expect the customer to just walk away cause who wants to have to go stand in the Customer Service line then to get your money back.  I still support the checkers, but I also see that Costco is trying the self ck out so I suppose they will need less checkers as well. 

  • michael M germundson July 30, 2019 (3:42 pm)

    Does anyone else see a correlation between the rising minimum wage and the reduced number of staff? What hurts the long time employees the most is with all the increases in wages for entry level employees they’res nothing to very little left for those that choose to make it a career.

    • AMD July 30, 2019 (6:01 pm)

      No, because these cuts were happening LONG before the minimum wage increased and are still happening in places where the minimum wage is $7.25.  I don’t understand your second concern.  People who do the same job as I do where I work make the same as I do from day 1 even though I’ve been there for 10 years because we do the same job.  That’s what the job is worth.  What’s “left for me to make it a career” is livable wages.  I don’t understand what the issue is there.  Of course, I stand with the grocery workers.

  • Kimiko Anderson July 30, 2019 (5:14 pm)

    As a lifelong grocery worker, Thank you for your support!I went through the last grocery strike here in 89….was 3 months of hell.Praying a settlement is reached.

  • Just curious July 30, 2019 (7:10 pm)

    Not being familiar with unions, I have a question. If the grocery workers do strike, wouldn’t this affect all the grocery stores except for Trader Joe’s? So, if you won’t cross the picket line, where will you buy groceries?

    • WSB July 30, 2019 (8:39 pm)

      Different contracts with different employers.

      • Judy O'Brien July 30, 2019 (9:34 pm)

        A strike would affect the large chains, QFC, Safeway, etc.  PCC, Met Market & Thriftway, while in the same union local, are not targeted stores & would not strike. 

  • Dee Brown July 30, 2019 (8:31 pm)

          I personally have known several people to work at ‘slaveway’ especially the people in the deli department are overworked, most doing doing the workload of 2 or 3 people.     My neighbor is a good lady… probably older than my dad and has worked at Safeway for 8+ years hasnt gotten a rase in over 6 years. Works diligently, its a shame that anyone who shows up on time and works 40 hours a week doesn’t make a living wage.     These grocery chains dont care about anything but profit- look at the volume of waiste EVERY DAY that instead of marking down hot or prepared food before deli closes theyd rather throw away (no not donate like Starbucks or Trader Joes) pounds and pounds of perfectly good food …. to ensure they make every penny at top dollar. ITS SICKENING 

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