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Aug
2014
28

Holding Out: Fred Meyer Forces Teamsters’ Strike After Competitors Ratify New Deals

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Workers at a Fred Meyer Grocery Distribution Center in Puyallup, Washington authorized a strike this weekend by a 241-2 margin.  The workers are represented by the Teamsters Local 117.  The union has been negotiating with Fred Meyer, a subsidiary of Kroger, since June 13th.  

The parties met five times and are scheduled to negotiate again on September 9th.  At the heart of the matter is Fred Meyer’s quest to outsource some of these jobs, which would give them a perceived advantage over competitors and threaten the job security of the union members.   

According to Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117:

“Fred Meyer wants the ability to outsource our members’ jobs to a third party, which could harm our local economy.  The company is also unwilling to set parameters with respect to health care.  Our members deserve to know how much they will be paying toward their health care over the term of the contract.  So far, Fred Meyer has been unwilling to negotiate over those parameters.”

Three other grocery grocery warehouses represented by the Teamsters — Safeway, SuperValu, and Unified Grocers — all ratified contracts with the union over the weekend of July 19-20.  Only Fred Meyer remains.  The contract between the Teamsters and Fred Meyer expired on July 12th. It covered 407 workers who serve over 140 stores.  

“Fred Meyer is irresponsibly vying to gain an unfair advantage over its competition,” Thompson told The Stand.  “In contrast, Safeway showed that it could work with the Union to achieve a fair settlement for its employees.  That’s why grocery warehouse workers at Safeway ratified their contract 140-1.”

Kroger, Fred Meyer’s parent company, had 98.4 billion in sales and $1.5 billion in profit in 2013 alone.  

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