Fred Meyer warehouse workers authorize strike

Teamsters Local 117 warehouse workers at Fred Meyer voted unanimously Saturday to authorize a strike.

A contract between Fred Meyer and the union expires Sunday. They have not agreed on a new one.

This could mean possible supply chain issues and food distribution disruptions at 180 grocery stores across Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska.

Workers are demanding more safety measures after the pandemic highlighted dangers on the job.

“In a word, [the union wants] respect,” said Teamster Local 117 Secretary Treasurer John Scearcy. “And that comes in the form of wage increases to match the work that they’re doing and the service they’re providing, retirement security, health care security and safety. We have to take safety back into our own hands. We were reliant on this employer to keep us safe at work and, by and large, they failed; they really failed.”

In a statement to KIRO 7, a spokesperson with Fred Meyer said:

“Our company will continue to pursue a fair and balanced contract that honors associates and keeps the company competitive. A strike authorization vote does not mean that there will be a strike. We do not anticipate any disruption in service and it is business as usual in our stores.”

The union stated a work stoppage could be called as early as 12:01 a.m. Monday.

“It’d be a big problem for [Fred Meyer]. They shouldn’t allow it to happen,” Scearcy continued. “We have communities to serve. We are an essential part of the food chain, and that didn’t start with the pandemic. We were essential long before. We’ve just been recognized during the pandemic… but that recognition has not translated to the working conditions and wages and compensation packages that we need.”