SEATTLE - Negotiations are continuing, but a UFCW spokesman says unless a settlement is reached by 7 p.m. Monday, 21,000 grocery workers will strike.
The stores under the strike alert include all Safeway, Fred Meyer, Albertson's and QFC stores in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Mason, Thurston and Kitsap counties.
As the strike loomed, stores that could be affected were extremely busy and many items had run out in some locations as shoppers stocked up.
"We actually debated even coming here tonight and going to a different store," explained Shawn Levin outside the Ballard Fred Meyer, "I don't want support (Fred Meyer) if they're not supporting their employees."
Sunday night, both sides said little about the status of talks, only that they were "ongoing".
"We need these employers to respect that hard work and loyalty of these workers," said UFCW spokesman Tom Geiger at a Westlake Park rally Sunday night.
The latest rally had a more political flavor, with Rep. Jim McDermott (D - Seattle) and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn speaking before the gathered crowd, and Seattle mayoral candidate Ed Murray spotted as well.
Unresolved issues include wages, holiday pay and health benefits.
Allied Employers Vice President Scott Powers is the employers' lead negotiator. In an email response to KING 5 regarding negotiations, he only said they are continuing.
A spokesperson for Fred Meyer/QFC said Sunday the chain was "preparing for a potential work stoppage". Those preparations, she indicated, included planning to hire temporary workers.
The last area grocery strike was in 1989 and lasted nearly three months.