A message from Mark Federici, President, UFCW Local 400:
As we all know, for some time now the future of Shoppers Food & Pharmacy has been in question. For nearly two years, Shoppers’ parent companies (first Supervalu and now UNFI) have cryptically disclosed plans to completely leave the retail business to focus on wholesale distribution. The implication has always been clear – the company plans to sell off all remaining Shoppers locations.
Long before Shoppers was owned by Supervalu, and certainly long before United Natural Foods (UNFI) took any interest in our stores, our members were there day in and day out keeping this company successful.
Throughout this time, our members – the store associates who are the backbone of the Shoppers stores – have been left to wonder what the future will hold. Our repeated requests for information have been met with silence from the company.
Well enough is enough. Just because some far-off corporate office decides to leave the retail business doesn’t mean our members can be cast aside and forgotten.
Yesterday, I sent a letter to the CEO of UNFI demanding answers. The full text of the letter is below.
We are tired of this company communicating to investors and news reporters while leaving us in the dark. It’s long past time for us to have a seat at the table. You deserve to know how your future livelihoods will be affected. More importantly, you deserve respect. You have earned the opportunity to be heard. You have dedicated your careers to this company and we will not stand idly by and allow your employer to ignore you.
In the coming weeks, we expect UNFI to provide us with the information we have requested. If they do not, we will take appropriate action, including actions we will be asking you to participate in, both in your stores and in the communities you serve. UNFI and whichever company they choose to sell to need to respect you and respect your union contract. That means a seat at the table and the information we need and deserve as they look for buyers.
Please be on the lookout for updates and be ready to join your coworkers to take action if necessary.
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My letter to UNFI CEO Steven Spinner:
Dear Mr. Spinner:
Over the past days there have been multiple media reports that UNFI has sold Shoppers stores within Local 400’s jurisdiction. UNFI has nevertheless failed to provide Local 400 with any material information regarding these reported sales or the consequences the sales will have on Local 400 members.
Local 400 demands that you provide us with information about these reported store sales immediately. Local 400 will not hesitate to exercise its rights under our previous arbitral award and other laws if we are not promptly provided with information sufficient to advise our members. We have learned that the identities of the purchasers have been known to UNFI for some time now.
Our members have been the backbone of Shoppers stores for far longer than UNFI has had any interest in those stores and they deserve far more respect than UNFI has shown them in this process. They deserve to know what the future holds. On behalf of the hardworking people who continue to ensure that Shoppers remains a successful business, we expect an immediate response to this letter.
Mark P. Federici
President and International Vice President