Puget Sound grocery workers authorize a strike



SEATTLE — Thousands of Puget Sound grocery workers have voted to authorize a strike.

Thursday’s strike authorization was approved by 98 percent of union members. It allows the union to set up picket lines if an agreement is not reached with employers.

Some 30,000 workers at Safeway, Fred Meyer, QFC and Albertson’s in the Puget Sound region are affected. Union members say the companies want to reduce holiday pay, hold wages at current rates, and force part-time workers to get health benefits through the new government health care plan.

A grocery store spokesperson says the strike authorization vote is premature because neither side has put out a best and final offer.