By Don McIntosh
A group of 82 Portland and Vancouver-area Safeway.com delivery drivers locked in raises of about $2.25 an hour in their first-ever union contract with Teamsters Local 162 and 58. The workers are employed by a Safeway subsidiary to deliver online grocery orders to nearby homes in refrigerated box trucks.
The three-year agreement, ratified overwhelmingly Sept. 10, also enrolls the workers in the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension. Employer pension contributions start at $1 per hour and grow to $1.20 in the third year.
Safeway raised pay $1.50 an hour during the union campaign, possibly hoping to discourage a “union yes” vote. Those raises remain, and workers won another 75 cents. Under the contract, wages start at $16.75 and rise to $19.20; the top rate rises to $20.30 in the third year.
The contract also contains improvements in safety and in scheduling practices, and a clause limiting the use of third party nonunion contractors: All members must refuse the extra hours before Safeway.com can turn to non-union gig workers employed by DoorDash.
The first contract comes a year after the union campaign began in September 2019, and seven months after workers voted 30-18 to unionize. The agreement runs through Sept. 16, 2023.