Attempts to reach a new labor agreement for some 30,000 grocery workers in the Puget Sound area are reaching a confrontational stage.
Workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, will post informational pickets outside 12 stores Wednesday to draw attention to what they say are attempts by local grocery chains to cut back their pay and benefits.
Those informational pickets will march in front of the stores between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. One Tacoma store, the Fred Meyer at 6901 South 19th Street, has been targeted among the dozen Puget Sound stores.
The union claims that negotiators representing Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyer and QFC are attempting to take away health coverage, reduce holiday pay, eliminate raises and deny them paid sick days in Seattle.
The negotiations have been ongoing since March.
The grocers say their profits are being squeezed and that they face new competition from non-union grocers such as Wal-Mart, which will soon open its first Tacoma store on Union Avenue later this summer.