W. Wash. grocery workers just hours from issuing a strike notice

BURIEN, Wash. - The grocery store union representing 31,000 workers in the Puget Sound region say they are just hours from issuing a strike notice.

Union leaders say unless there is a breakthrough soon, they will notify workers it's starting a 72-hour countdown clock - that's the amount of notice required before a strike could start.

The United Food and Commercial Workers represents employees at QFC, Safeway, Albertsons and Fred Meyer stores in six counties across the region.

Union members voted by a 98 percent margin to authorize a strike if negotiations fail, and workers have been making picket signs in recent days in case of a strike.

Some of the biggest sticking points are still over health and pension issues.

The possibility of a strike has many customers on edge.

The stores are already looking for replacement workers.