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Busy grocery workers worry about lack of safety measures

Shelves have again emptied at grocery stores in the Puget Sound region. (MyNorthwest photo)

As you do your Thanksgiving shopping this week, grocery store workers want to remind you and store management that they are frontline workers, too.

Seattle Safeway, Albertsons head: New limits on WA grocery stores ‘not significantly different’

“They called us heroes. Well, I guess we’re zeroes now because they no longer treat us that way,” said Sam Dancy, who works at the Westwood Village QFC.

Dancy says management has been rolling back safety procedures, and cut hazard pay employees received when the coronavirus pandemic first started. He says they do get store credit sometimes.

“They put $100 on an Advantage card so that you have to spend it in the store,” Dancy said.

As part of Gov. Inslee’s latest mandates, retail, including grocery stores, was capped at 25% indoor occupancy. The governor said grocery stores were already capped at 30%.

Grocery store employees have been spotted keeping capacity count at local Safeway stores.

But back at the QFC in West Seattle, George Fearing, who works in the CLICK LIST department, says he’s so busy that he doesn’t have time for breaks or to sanitize. He worries that puts him and customers at risk.

“At our store, we just took off the one-way aisle stickers,” Fearing said. “It feels like we’re actively rolling back regulations right now instead of ramping up.”

Fearing and others with the United Food and Commercial Workers union say management is resistant to their requests to address safety. The union says it has gotten employees extended sick leave and more access to child care, but workers remain concerned about safety, staffing, and pay.

Washington state grocers ‘weren’t expecting’ new limits on capacity

Representatives for local store chains say they have consistently taken all safety precautions. KIRO Radio does not know of any chains that have been cited by the state for violations.

KIRO Radio’s Lacey Evans contributed to this story.

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