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October 18, 2013 at 8:08 PM
Thousands of Puget Sound area grocery workers gave notice late Friday that they will strike if a new labor deal is not reached by a Monday 7 p.m. deadline.
About 21,000 workers for Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Safeway and QFC stores in King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston and Mason counties would take part. If the strike goes into effect, workers in those counties will picket outside stores and ask community members to honor their work and shop at alternative stores, United Food and Commercial Workers union spokesman Tom Geiger said.
Union workers called their employers’ current proposal “the worst proposal they had ever seen” and said they hope the strike notice will speed up what they said had been “slow” negotiations with the corporations for a new deal. They stood in Westlake Park at a Friday night news conference in front of a big, white, makeshift clock that is to tick off the hours until the deadline.
The local chapter of UFCW must give employers 72 hours’ notice before walking out. That still leaves an opening for both sides to return to the bargaining table and reach a resolution.
Last month, 98 percent of union members in the four-county region voted to authorize a strike. Their contracts expired in May. Since then, the union and grocery chains have been battling over a new three-year contract.
Allied Employers Vice President Scott Powers is the employers’ lead negotiator. In a statement, he said “the only way to work through the remaining issues is at the bargaining table.” He said the companies remain committed to reaching an agreement that is good for both sides.
Geiger said that the companies want to reduce holiday pay, hold wages at current rates, and cut paid sick days and health-care plans. He said the workers had no single “sticking point” but rather a “long list” of issues they’re concerned about.
A week ago, the companies withdrew a proposal to cut off employee health-care benefits if they work fewer than 30 hours a week, signaling some progress toward avoiding a strike, Geiger said.
Local grocery-store workers last went on strike in 1989. That strike went for 81 days, he said.
“We can’t afford to go on strike, but we can’t afford these proposed cuts,” said Ricke Egtvet, who has worked as a Safeway meat cutter for more than 20 years. “We have to stand up for those in the future.”
A strike would be “devastating” to the workers, said Kyong Barry, a checker at Albertson’s in Renton. “But there are some points where we have to stand up,” she said.
Geiger said the union doesn’t want a strike, and he hopes the threat will be enough to put pressure on the stores and force them to “fairly compensate” their employees.
He said it boils down to a simple question: “Do they want to spend the money on workers … or on the CEOs?”
June 16, 2013 at 10:31 AM
Seattle Police say they used GPS tracking software on a robbery victim’s iPad to find the stolen device and one of two men suspected of taking it Saturday night in Freeway Park.
The male victim was walking through Freeway Park in downtown Seattle just before 11 p.m., when two men approached and asked for a cigarette, police say. One man then pointed a canned “chemical agent” at the victim, who tried to escape but was knocked to the ground, and the suspects fled on foot with the man’s iPad.
Police say responding officers used a tracking program on the device to find the iPad and capture the man who had it. They say the man tried to hide brass knuckles in a trash can, and the victim identified him as one of the two who robbed him.
The suspect, a 23-year-old with two robbery convictions, was booked into King County Jail for investigation of robbery, police say. The other man remains at large.
February 19, 2012 at 1:17 PM
Three people are dead in an avalanche just outside the Stevens Pass ski resort, and a snowboarder was killed in another avalanche in an out-of-bounds area in the Alpental Valley at Snoqualmie Pass, authorities said.
Earlier Sunday, the King County Sheriff’s Office said two were dead and as many as eight were missing in the Stevems Pass avalanche, but later changed the death toll from two to three. KING-TV reported that the individuals who had been unaccounted for in that avalanche have since been accounted for.
The three deaths occurred in an out-of-bounds area near the Stevens Pass ski resort, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindi West.
At Alpental, the snowboarder was with a friend underneath a cliff when they became buried in snow shortly before noon, authorities say. The snowboarder’s friend got out and called for help, but rescue workers were unable to find him until an hour and a half later.
By the time they reached him, the snowboarder was unconscious and could not be revived.
Initial reports said the snowboarder went over a cliff at Alpental, but authorities later pointed to the avalanche.
February 12, 2012 at 4:59 PM
An Anacortes man in his early 50s was struck by a trooper’s vehicle early Sunday after the man lost control of his car and was ejected onto Highway 20 near the Deception Pass bridge, the State Patrol said.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
The State Patrol said the incident began when a trooper saw a Toyota Celica that was being driven recklesslessly and at excessive speeds on Highway 20 in Island County around 6 a.m.
The trooper tried to stop the driver, who continued traveling northbound toward the bridge before he lost control of his car, which struck a rock embankment, said Mark Francis, spokesman for the State Patrol’s Marysville office.
The driver was ejected onto the northbound lane, where the patrol car struck him.
A dog riding with the driver of the Celica was taken to a local animal shelter in fair condition, Francis said.
February 12, 2012 at 1:28 PM
Two people suffered life-threatening injuries after being shot while near a nightclub south of downtown Seattle early today, according to Seattle police.
Police responded to reports of shots fired in the 1900 block of First Avenue South around 3:30 a.m. Before they arrived, two gunshot victims — men ages 21 and 22– were driven to Harborview Medical Center in personal vehicles.
Earlier Sunday, police mistakenly said the victims were a man and a woman.
The gunfire reportedly erupted after a fight broke out among an unknown number of people near a local nightclub.
No arrests have been made, and police say they have no suspect information.
February 12, 2012 at 1:20 PM
A 20-year-old Seattle woman was shot and killed at a home here early today, according to Redmond police.
Officers responded to a report of “unknown trouble” around 3:30 a.m. in the 16800 block of Northeast 97th Street. While on their way they received a report that a woman had been shot.
She was found at the scene with a gunshot wound to the neck and was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. After undergoing surgery, she was pronounced dead around 10 a.m.
Police say they have interviewed a person of interest in the case, but the reason for the shooting remains under investigation.
February 12, 2012 at 10:24 AM
A man shot by a King County Sheriff’s deputy Saturday near Auburn was unarmed, sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Katie Larson said Sunday.
The deputy and an accompanying corrections officer shot the man after he reached for what they feared was a weapon, according to the sheriff’s office. The man, believed to be about 30, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center where he was in stable condition late Saturday, Larson said.
The altercation began about 4:50 p.m. Saturday, when deputies served an arrest warrant in the 37600 block of 42nd Avenue South in the Auburn area of unincorporated King County. Deputies did arrest a 27-year-old man without incident on an outstanding felony warrant.
While there, they were told that a second man in another room had a rifle, which would have been a Department of Corrections violation.
A deputy and corrections officer went into the room to investigate, and shooting ensued moments later, the sheriff’s office said in a news release Sunday. ”No guns or other weapons” were found inside the man’s room, the release said. A rifle was recovered from a safe outside the room.
The deputy was put on paid leave pending an investigation, as is standard practice, Larson said.
The sheriff’s major crimes unit, working with Bellevue Police, concluded their search of the scene early Sunday. Officials say it will be several days before additional details are released.
February 5, 2012 at 2:01 PM
Pierce County sheriff’s deputies say they believe Josh Powell, the husband of a Utah woman who has been missing since 2009, and their two young boys were killed in a home explosion in Graham on Sunday afternoon.
A case worker dropped the boys off at Powell’s home for a visitation.
The case worker ”was forced out, and an explosion happened shortly thereafter,” said Ed Troyer, spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.
Troyer said all three bodies had been recovered, but their identities have not yet been confirmed. Troyer said the sheriff’s office is treating the explosion as an intentional act.
The house, at 8119 189th St. Court East, is considered unstable, but the flames are out, and no other nearby properties are in danger. Troyer said.
Powell has been a person of interest in the investigation into his wife’s disappearance but has not been arrested or charged in the case.There is not points to locate on the map
January 29, 2012 at 4:05 PM
Seattle Police are looking for two men suspected of robbing a woman at her home and pistol whipping her husband nearby early Sunday.
The woman told police that around 3:30 a.m., she heard a knock on the front door of her home, in the 5800 block of Renton Avenue South. Police said she peeked out a window, told one of the men to leave and then called her husband at work.
Several minutes later, policy say, she observed two men huddled near her back door, one of whom pointed a handgun toward her. Just as she called 911, her husband arrived home.
She then saw one of the men chase her husband outside, and after a loud crash at the back door, the other man demanded money and drugs. Police say he fled after she gave him an undisclosed amount of cash.
Meanwhile, her husband was chased down and pistol-whipped near the corner of South Juneau Street and Renton Avenue South, police say. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center with facial lacerations.
Police described the husband as hostile and said he refused to provide any information.
January 22, 2012 at 11:25 AM
A Kent home that had been without electricity since Wednesday was damaged early Sunday in a fire that investigators believe was caused by the hot exhaust gases of a portable generator.
The fire occurred in the 27500 block of 118th Avenue Southeast, in the East Hill area of Kent.
The home’s owner said the family had been using a portable generator in a backyard shed to power the home since Wednesday, when they lost electricity because of the winter storms.
A little before 5 a.m., the homeowner heard a “pop” outside and found the shed, about 10 feet from the house, engulfed in flames. The heat generated by the fire caused the house’s vinyl siding to melt, so the family evacuated and called for help.
Kent firefighters say they were able to quickly put out the fire. Damage was estimated at $14,000, and no injuries were reported.
The fire was ruled accidental, with the cause determined to be combustible items placed too close to the generator’s exhaust.
The fire department advises that when using a portable gas-fired generator, people should provide at least 5 feet of clearance between its exhaust pipe and any combustibles.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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