Safeway’s 550 Tempe distribution center workers and truck drivers in Arizona are on the brink of a walkout, as both sides continue efforts to forge a new contract.
Wages and pensions are the top issues, Teamsters Local 104 leader Andy Marshall said Friday. The workers’ three-year contract expired Feb. 26, but the union agreed to an extension until 11:59 p.m. March 30.
Marshall said talks will continue next week, but union members have already voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if necessary.
“At this point there is no intention of signing another extension,” he said. The sides have made little progress in 11 bargaining sessions, he added. “We are far apart,” said Safeway spokeswoman Kara Glover. “We hope we can close the gap, but the Teamsters will need to get more realistic as to what they are asking in order for that to happen.”
Marshall said the company is only offering annual pay increases of about half the 40 cents per hour yearly boosts of the previous contract.
“Safeway is a profitable company, especially the Arizona distribution center, which is No. 1 in the country, but they are claiming poor,” he said.