TUKWILA, Wash. – Hundreds of Teamsters at three grocery warehouses – Safeway, SuperValu, and Unified Grocers – voted overwhelmingly to ratify their contracts over the weekend. The agreements contain annual wage increases and protections against subcontracting and the rising cost of health care. Voting took place in Tukwila and Tacoma on July 19 and 20 and covers more than 400 workers in total who are members of Teamsters Local 117.
“Our members in the grocery distribution industry help maintain the supply chain that feeds hundreds of thousands of families across the Puget Sound region and the West,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We worked hard with these companies to achieve a settlement that is both good for business and values our members’ labor. That’s why grocery warehouse workers at Safeway ratified their contract 140-1.”
With the three contracts ratified, Fred Meyer is the only Teamster grocery distributor in the area that has not settled its contract. “We are still early in the process with Fred Meyer, and we are hopeful that we can achieve a comparable agreement that our members can ratify,” Thompson said.
Bargaining between Teamsters Local 117 and Fred Meyer started on June 13. The parties have met two times and are scheduled to negotiate again on July 22. The contract between the Union and Fred Meyer covers 407 workers, who are employed at the company’s distribution center in Puyallup. The facility serves approximately 140 stores in the region.
Workers in the grocery warehouse industry perform physically demanding work under a tight production standard. They work in ambient, refrigerated and freezer warehouse environments, manually handling heavy cases and operating forklifts and pallet jacks to receive, load and stock grocery products.
Fred Meyer is a subsidiary of Kroger, Inc., the second-largest grocery retailer in the country. In 2013, Kroger reported sales of $98.4 billion and profits of $1.5 billion. Teamsters Local 117 represents approximately 16,000 members, with over 1000 members who work in the grocery warehouse industry.