SEATTLE -- The union representing tens of thousands of grocery store workers in Western Washington have given a 72-hour notice they will go on 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.

While the news broke around 7pm, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) spokesman Tom Geiger planned to hold a 9:00 p.m. news conference at Westlake Mall to make it official and share more details. They planned to use a giant clock to countdown the hours until the strike.

Grocery workers had voted 98 percent in favor of a strike last month if talks for a new three-year contract broke down.

The workers want the companies to keep health care benefits for employees working less than 30 hours per week, along with holiday pay and a wage increase.

By union rules, the stores must receive a 72-hour notice before a strike.

The last major grocery strike in Western Washington was in 1989.

See an interactive map of alternative grocery stores by city.

We will have more on this story tonight on KING 5 News at 10pm and 11pm.

Read or Share this story: