DC Pols Join Grocery Worker Rally at O Street Giant's Grand Opening

Thursday, November 21, 2013

DC Pols Join Grocery Worker Rally at O Street Giant's Grand Opening(Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)

Political and community leaders joined an informational picket by Giant and Safeway workers in front of Giant's grand opening at 8th and O Street NW Thursday night. DC Council members Tommy Wells and Jack Evans, as well as Rev. Graylan Hagler of Plymouth Congregational Church were among those showing their support for the grocery workers who voted last week to authorize the leadership of their union, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 400 (UFCW Local 400) to call a strike if the companies refuse to negotiate a fair contract. The new Giant is in Wells’ district and he went in with a delegation to deliver petitions signed by community residents supporting the workers, telling store management “it’s time for Giant to settle a contract with its workers.” The big issue on the table is health care because of the new Affordable Care Act. In contract negotiations across the country, companies have tried to eliminate health care for part-time workers, retirees and spouses. "We are refusing to go backward," said Vivian Siguion, Bargaining Advisory Committee member who works at Safeway #1431. "We've worked this hard to earn the benefits we have and for the companies to propose to eliminate them feels like a slap in the face to the 29 years I've put in to this company." Giant and Safeway workers have leafleted stores and gathered thousands of shoppers' pledges, participated in flash mobs, and have turned in their own pledge cards stating that they will do "whatever it takes for a fair contract." Other unions like the Teamsters, who work at Giant's warehouse in Jessup, Md. have supported the retail workers by wearing buttons and turning in pledge cards, while community groups have joined rallies and local politicians have written letters of support. "By authorizing a strike last week, our members put Giant and Safeway on notice that it is long past time to come to the table with a proposal that provides them with the security, respect and dignity they have more than earned," said Local 400 President Mark Federici. "We need to keep this momentum up, we have to stand together and we, as union members need to actively support our decision by continuing to participate in store actions until a fair contract is reached," said LaWanda Nedd-Kea, a Bargaining Advisory Committee member who works at Giant #140. photo by Bill Burke/Page One
Related stories:
Will Grocery Workers Hold the Line For Part-Timer Health Care? 
NLRB Decides to Prosecute Nationwide Violations at Walmart, AFL-CIO Commits to Backing Workers
Wal-Mart Asks Workers To Donate Food To Its Needy Employees


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