CHS Pics | Workers target Broadway grocery to spread union message

IMG_0015CHS grew up in a two union household. That might explain our belief that an “informational picket” is the height of what it means to be an American. Wednesday, Harvard Market QFC shoppers found around three dozen picketers representing UFCW 21, UFCW 367 and Teamsters 38 as the unions position themselves for negotiations with the big grocery chains active in the region. Here is the announcement about the picket — one of 12 planned across Puget Sound today — from UFCW 21:

Informational Pickets Taking Place at Grocery Stores
Across Puget Sound on July 3rd: Workers Standing Together for Fairness
Informational Pickets in front of grocery stores will be taking place between 11 AM and 1 PM the day before July 4th to promote a fair contract for 30,000 union grocery store workers across Puget Sound. The workers have been in contract negotiations since March. So far CEOs of Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyer and QFC have continued to get paid millions while proposing to:
· Eliminate health care coverage for thousands of Puget Sound area grocery store workers

· Cut pay when people work on holidays like 4th of July,

· Offer no wage increases and only a 15 cent per hour end of year bonus for the most senior employees

· Cut the 10 cent above minimum wage guarantee for lowest paid workers

· Take away paid sick days for Seattle workers and forbid others in the region from ever getting them

Grocery Store workers across the region stood together three years ago when their CEOs tried to cut pay and benefits. In that case, grocery store workers had to go as far as a Strike Vote before Thanksgiving until the big grocery chains were willing to reach a compromise. It had been hoped that the 2013 negotiations would move along better, but so far it has actually been worse. Grocery store workers are standing together to protect their health care, improve their wages, secure their pensions, and protect other workplace protections like paid sick days. The workers are members of three unions jointly negotiating these contracts: UFCW 21, UFCW 367 and Teamsters 38.

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Meanwhile, for another example of what democracy looks like, the Northwest Film Forum opened up its air-conditioned theater to show live coverage of the events unfolding in Egypt.

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10 thoughts on “CHS Pics | Workers target Broadway grocery to spread union message

  1. I’m interested to know what the union has to say about self-check out stations. I refuse to us those things because they remove jobs and don’t seem to add any efficiency for the customer. I’m genuinely curious about the union’s position on this.

    • They do add efficiency, though.

      Before self-checkout, the north Broadway QFC had, what, 4 checkout stands? Maybe 5? So you had to wait in a pretty long line just to start checking out in the first place. And depending on the time of day, some of those stands would be closed. I frequently waited in line for 5-10 minutes at 2 in the morning, when there was only 1 cashier on duty.

      Now, in the same amount of space, there’s at least a dozen self-checkout stands. That means shorter lines and shorter waits.

      Additionally, there’s self-selection. People buying a lot of groceries tend to gravitate towards the staffed checkout lines; so do people who have difficulty using computers, as well as people who move slowly in general. The self-checkouts function serve as a huge number of express lanes, while cashiers are reserved for the shoppers who most need their help.

      • I think that self checkout is just another example of the dehumanization of our culture. Pretty soon, if not already, a person can go through their entire day without interacting with another human being. But, hey, that digital device in my ear is a great substitute for a human! (he says, sarcastically).

      • I appreciate self checkout stations. Most of the time I only have a basket of groceries and I just want to get in and out. I dislike being held captive by an unprepared customer ahead or a surly checker who is having side conversations, answers the phone or leaves their post all while i’m just wanting to pay and leave.

        If I need human interaction I won’t go to the grocery store to seek it out.

      • Amen Calhoun. I can’t use those self-checkouts. I feel like it is taking a job away and I hate machines talking to me.

      • YES YES YES to this. I can’t stand the self checkout stands. They are terrible on so many levels. I hate the reduction of human interactions, and they really don’t save me any time at all. They’re so glitchy and unresponsive. I try to avoid them whenever possible.

  2. I would get in line with the unions if they fired half the people that worked in the deli. They provide the worst service in the whole grocery store.

  3. I side with the unions even though I do not work for a grocery store. People need decent wages and fair treatment. I’d shop somewhere else, but most of the groceries are the same in this way. There doesn’t seem to be another option.

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