Distribution and recycle center workers and drivers represented by two unions have approved a new three-year contract with Safeway, averting strike threats.
The workers, represented by Teamsters Local 174 and Teamsters Local 117, voted on the recommended agreement over the weekend.
According to Local 174, "The historic three-year agreement addresses nearly every issue identified prior to negotiations, and includes record-setting wage and pension increases, vacation pay, holidays, and many other improvements."
The contract comes after more than a year of working through the COVID-19 pandemic, when grocery workers were among the front-line workers exposed to risks from community spread.
"Our members at Safeway have worked longer hours over the past year than ever before, earning record profits for their employer," said Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks. "While they were reluctant at first, Safeway management really stepped up to the plate and delivered this historic agreement that rewards our members for their hard work and sacrifices.
"This contract goes a long way toward recognizing the hard work and sacrifices grocery warehouse workers have made throughout the pandemic," said John Scearcy, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.
Local 174 represents approximately 150-175 Safeway drivers, who deliver groceries from Safeway's Auburn distribution center to Safeway/Albertsons stores, all warehouse workers in the Auburn, Bellevue and Kent Distribution Centers, dispatchers, and Recycling Center workers
Local 117 represents roughly 450 Safeway warehouse workers who voted Sunday to approve the contract. Local 174 members voted Saturday.
Meanwhile, Local 117 distribution workers with Fred Meyer voted over the weekend to authorize a strike against that company, failing to reach agreement on a new contract. There was no strike action on Monday.
The workers return to negotiations with the company the first week of August.
Fred Meyer, in a statement in response to questions Monday, told The News Tribune via email: "We will continue to pursue a fair and balanced contract that honors associates and keeps the company competitive. Note that 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 retailer added.