FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Michael Wilson, UFCW Local 400, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-255-7974
Eight Local Giant Stores Will Not Be Sold Preserving Hundreds of Good Jobs in the Region
After months of uncertainty and a fight that united Giant employees, customers, and community leaders, to preserve good jobs and shopping options, Giant announced they will do the right thing
FREDERICKSBURG, VA – After four months of speculation, uncertainty, and fear, Giant employees, customers, and community supporters won a huge victory yesterday, saving their local stores.
It took dozens of rallies, community meetings, and marches, but employees at eight area Giant stores, six in the Fredericksburg area and two in Southern Maryland, were told yesterday that their stores would remain Giant. In March Giant had told employees at those locations that their stores would be put up for sale as part of the merger between Giant’s Netherlands based parent company Ahold and Belgium based Delhaize, the parent company of Food Lion.
“We stood strong as a union with our community and our customers to let Giant know that selling our stores and leaving the Fredericksburg area was unacceptable,” said Robyn Wheeler, who has worked at the Giant in Fredericksburg City for 37 years. “I’m glad that Giant did the right thing in the end and I’m proud to be a part of a union and a community that would not give up the good jobs and grocery options Giant brings to this area.”
“When Giant told us in March that our stores would be put up for sale as part of a merger deal in Europe, we knew we had to act fast. Because of the bond we have built with our customers over the years, they were coming to us asking how they could help,” said Thad Hutchison, who works at Giant in Spotsylvania County. “The way our customers and community stood with us to save our stores shows how much Giant and its employees mean to this region.”
The merger, and the sale of 86 stores, including a number of Food Lions in the area, still needs to be approved by the Federal Trade Commission, but Delhaize and Ahold both said they expect that approval before the end of the month.
The only Giant store to be sold as part of the pending merger is in Salisbury, Maryland. It will be sold to ACME, a division of Albertsons, and employees there will have the option to stay in their jobs and preserve their union.
“We will be watching closely to see what the FTC does at the end of the month, but we are breathing a huge sigh of relief today knowing we won our fight to save our store,” said Nene Patton who works at Giant in Accokeek, Maryland.
Employees at all eight of the Giant stores that have been saved are members of the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400. Union members not only pressured Giant to do the right thing by preserving good union jobs, but also contacted the Federal Trade Commission and their local elected officials to express concerns about the impact on wages, benefits, and competition if the Giant stores were sold.
“Because we have a strong union we had a voice in this process,” said Treesa Shipp, a Giant employee in Stafford. “They could not ignore us, the employees who built this company and make it successful.”
Giant Stores Saved:
Giant #338, Accokeek, MD
Giant #339, La Plata, MD
Giant #234, Stafford, VA
Giant #235, Fredericksburg, VA
Giant #243, Stafford, VA
Giant #256, Spotsylvania, VA
Giant #770, Fredericksburg, VA
Giant #789, Falmouth, VA
The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 represents 35,000 members working in the retail food, health care, retail department store, food processing, service and other industries in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee