CHS 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.
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.