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Grocery workers at Safeway and Albertsons stores across the state have new protections and support after negotiations between labor unions and the company.

Among them: an effort to to work with the state and federal government to treat them as first responders and set up a child care fund for them.

This and numerous other supports were agreed upon to help address work demands through the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

Washington state United Food and Commercial Workers and Teamster local unions announced the changes with Safeway/Albertsons on Tuesday.

UFCW 21, 367, 1439 and Teamsters 38 reached the understanding with Safeway/Albertsons.

The resolution provides:

•More flexibility for schedules to accommodate child care.

•A joint hiring hall to allow for more people to get work in the stores.

•Up to two weeks of pay for workers with COVID-19 or those required to self-quarantine, before needing to access sick leave and other paid leave.

•Expanded use of paid sick leave to cover child care.

Additionally, further discussions will take place on ways to meet child care needs, and to ensure employees do not lose eligibility for medical coverage or lose vacation accrual while on sick leave. Discussions also include temporarily allowing the employer to bring in extra help to serve the communities, provided the bargaining unit employees are first offered the hours, including overtime.

In addition, negotiations maintained any work done in the meat cutter classification will only be performed by those qualified and licensed — where necessary — to perform the work, the announcement said.

Source: Union-Bulletin.com