Washington teamsters will honor strike if grocery workers walk out

The Tukwila-based Joint Council of Teamsters No. 28, which represents more than 50,000 members across Washington, Alaska and Northern Idaho, says it will honor a grocery worker strike if one occurs.

Joint Council 28 stands with the 2,600 members of Teamsters Local 38 in Everett along with the nearly 27,000 members of UFCW 21 and 367 who, on a daily basis, keep the grocery stores in the Puget Sound area running, according to an Oct. 3 Joint Council 28 press release.

The Joint Council will communicate with its thousands of members who work in the sanitation, recycle, composting, soft drink, beer, wine, liquor, dairy, organic food, poultry, bread and produce industries who may be dispatched by their employer to one of these grocery chains.

The group also will work with all of its affected Teamster Locals to inform the members of their right to honor pickets and not make deliveries or pickups.

It also will communicate with the members working at grocery distribution centers who also have the right to honor picket lines. Any picket line presence at these distribution centers may affect grocery distribution statewide. All Washington Teamsters and their families will support Teamsters Local 38 and the UFCW if the employers force them to take the option of last resort and go on strike.

"We are communicating with our members about the issues our brothers and sisters in the grocery retail industry are facing in negotiations," said Rick Hicks, President of Joint Council Teamsters 28. "The Teamsters will always stand up for working people, and the fact that these four grocery chains with a combined revenue that is in the tens of billions of dollars annually want to force their employees onto taxpayer subsidized healthcare is absurd and will not be tolerated."

The current negotiations between the Teamsters Local 38, UFCW and the four major Grocery Chains (Safeway, QFC, Fred Meyer and Albertsons) have been going on for more than six months. Talks are scheduled to resume Oct. 10-11.

Any grocery work strike would give 72-hour notice to employers.

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