PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Fred Meyer warehouse workers voted unanimously on Saturday to authorize a strike that could disrupt food distribution at 180 locations across the Pacific Northwest.
The Teamsters Local 117 warehouse workers said contract negotiations with Fred Meyer have stalled and their contract expires Sunday. The union said Fred Meyer rejected a proposal to allow workers to refuse a task that would put themselves or the public in danger.
“With all the COVID outbreaks that wreaked havoc on the warehouse, you’d think they’d be a little more concerned about our safety and the safety of the public,” said Matt Collins, a shop steward who believes he contracted COVID-19 in the workplace last year. “But, sadly, that’s not the case. Fred Meyer ignored our petition to lower the production standard, which led to crowded aisles and people getting sick, and they suspended safety meetings during the worst parts of the pandemic. Now they’re inexplicably rejecting our proposal that would make conditions safer for workers and the community.”
A work stoppage could go into effect as early as midnight on Monday morning.
Fred Meyer said it plans to continue negotiations.
“Our company will continue to pursue a fair and balanced contract that honors associates and keeps the company competitive,” a Fred Meyer spokesperson said. “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 vote to authorize a strike at Fred Meyer comes a day after Teamsters Local 174 reached a tentative agreement with Safeway over a three-year contract.