Grocery-Worker Strike Averted ... At Least For Now

Grocery-store executives at Safeway, Fred Meyer, Albertsons and QFC either caved and gave in to union pressure for fewer employee pay cuts, or called the groups' bluffs altogether. Whatever happened, the picket sign freak-show that had threatened to descend upon grocery stores in King, Snohomish and Kitsap counties just in time for Thanksgiving seems to have been averted--at least for now.

A tentative agreement was reached on Saturday between grocery stores represented by Allied Employers and United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 21 and 81, as well as Teamsters Local 38.

UFCW 21 alone represents some 36,000 workers, and would have crippled the local grocery industry with a strike.

The agreement still needs to be ratified by union-wide voting that will happen after Thanksgiving. So a strike could still occur; just not while everyone in the city is scrambling for turkeys and sweet potatoes.

The details of the agreement haven't been publicized, and likely won't until after the ratification vote. Whatever is in the deal, however, it must have sounded better to the union leaders than spending the next few weeks holding signs out in the snow.

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