Safeway begins accepting applications for temp workers as labor dispute continues

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The Bainbridge Island Safeway has posted a sign at its entrance that says the grocery is accepting applications for temporary workers “due to a possible labor dispute.”

“Temporary replacement workers APPLY TODAY!” the notice reads.

United Food and Commercial Workers, including members of Local 21, which represents 20,000 employees in grocery stores including Safeway, Fred Meyer, QFC and Albertsons, voted overwhelmingly on Sept. 25 to authorize a strike. Local 21 includes workers at the Bainbridge Safeway.

Union officials said the strike authorization vote was approved by 98 percent of its membership.

The sign posted at the Bainbridge Safeway said only online applications were being accepted, and applications are being taken for temporary work at groceries in Kitsap, King, Snohomish, Thurston, Pierce and Mason counties.

Local grocery workers held an informational picket outside the Bainbridge Safeway last month. Unresolved issues in the talks over a new contract include changes to pay and health care benefits.

According to an update on Local 21’s website, negotiations over a new contract will continue on Oct. 10 and Oct. 11. “Our expectation is that they will come with a set of serious proposals,” states an update on the union’s website.