Grocery Strike Averted, Sign Makers Very Sad

The posters at my local Fred Meyer's store were pretty straightforward: they were frantically recruiting employees for what looked like a nearly inevitable pre-Thanksgiving grocery worker's strike courtesy of Allied Employers and United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 21 and 81 as well as Teamsters Local 38, and it didn't appear that they were being very picky.

There was no experience required, no special skills, no education. You had to be of legal age (or at least wearing a fake mustache) and actually be currently alive (or at least having a couple goofy friends operating your limbs Weekend At Bernie's-style), but beyond that, the store seemed willing to consider pretty much any ambulatory schnook with a last name and a pen. And the pen was negotiable.

The only real qualification mentioned in the desperate plea for warm bodies was, at the time, the only one that mattered: "Must be willing to cross a picket line."

Only now, it seems as though all those extra workers won't be necessary because over on the Daily Weekly, Curtis Cartier is reporting that "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 freakshow that had threatened to descend upon grocery stores in King, Snohomish and Kitsap counties just in time for Thanksgiving seems to have been avoided--at least for now."

That "at least for now" bit is referring to the fact that the agreement reached on Saturday is both tentative and has to be ratified by the all the unions involved (which either will or will not happen at some point after Thanksgiving). But what's important right now is that, snow aside, it appears one of the biggest grocery-store shopping holidays of the year will go off without a hitch. The only people pissed about this at the moment are probably those employed by the ON STRIKE sign-making industry.

Well, them and maybe those folks who'd already applied for the picket line-crossing gigs at Fred Meyer's.

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