Union grocery workers and store management are still without a new deal.

A union rep says they've made progress on some issues, but over the weekend they were unable to reach a deal to avoid a strike.

Union spokesman Tom Geiger said the companies have agreed to remove a proposal which would eliminate health insurance for employees who work under 30 hours each week. Geiger added pension and health insurance are also two major issues holding up a new deal.

Workers have their picket signs ready to go, and there are signs are up at Safeway, QFC, Albertsons and Fred Meyer seeking replacement workers if employees decide to walk off the job.

In a statement released last week, Allied Employers lead negotiator Scott Powers said:

We are currently focused on working through the issues with the union at the bargaining table. Our goals are to reach an agreement that is good for our associates, providing them a solid compensation package of pay and benefits; and good for the companies too, so they can be competitive and continue to provide good, stable jobs. We are focused on those important objectives.

If the union decides to strike, it needs to give 72 hours notice. The group Stand With Our Checkers created an interactive map of alternative stores.

Contract negotiations are scheduled to resume October 16th.

In the meantime, we have over 1,000 UFCW 367 members in Thurston and Mason counties that had their contract expire on October 5th. They are holding strike votes this Tuesday the 15th. We are continuing to make final strike preparations, said Geiger.

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