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Hundreds of Employees, Customers, Allies Deliver Thousands of Petitions to Giant Demanding Save My Store

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Company Responds with Words, Not Action

Hundreds of Local 400 members, Giant customers, brothers and sisters from other unions, community allies, elected officials and faith leaders today marched from Local 400’s office to Giant headquarters to deliver thousands of petitions telling the company, “Save My Store!”

The boisterous rally was prompted by Giant’s announcement in March that it would sell eight stores in the region due to a corporate merger between Ahold and Delhaize, the European-based parent companies of Giant and Food Lion. Since that time, workers and customers at the stores slated to be sold have heard nothing about their fate and have received no assurances that their jobs and the protections of their union contract will be observed by store buyers.

“This is an example of corporate America run amuck,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “Why in the world is it right for the people who work and make profits for this company to be the last to know about their fate? That’s wrong.

“We’ve had enough of our work, our sweat, our blood making it possible for these big deals to happen, but then we’re immediately forgotten about,” he charged. “We’re here to say, ‘go close somebody else!’”

“I was devastated when I heard about our store being sold,” said Robyn Wheeler, who has worked at the Fredericksburg, Va., Giant for 36 years, and is both the daughter and mother of longtime Giant employees. “We’re there every day doing our jobs. They’ve left us in the dark big time—no lights at all. We’re here to get answers and especially a good outcome.”

“We’re talking about our livelihoods,” said Jeannie Weaver who works at Giant #338 in Accokeek, Md. “Giant management aren’t the ones who are affected. We’re the ones who have to stand firm and tell them, ‘No way! Don’t shut our doors. Don’t keep us in the dark.’”

“When I think of Giant, I think of community,” said Eric Masten, secretary treasurer of UFCW Local 27. “Our store in Salisbury has been there since 1959 and it’s an integral part of the community. For a long time, it was the only Giant on the Delmarva Peninsula. It makes me sick to see what has happened to corporate finance.

“We’ve submitted 1,200 ‘Save My Store’ petitions from Salisbury alone,” Masten said. “Our customers don’t want to lose their Giant. Our customers identify with our workers. It would be a sad day if the company shuts down a store with good wages and benefits while leaving open stores where people make low wages and benefits.”

Joe Wood, a Local 27 member who has worked at Giant #351 in Salisbury for 30 years said, “This goes beyond everybody in this room. I’m a receiver and this affects every vendor. If Giant closes us down, it closes a million dollar store. It affects Salisbury. It affects the taxes our city collects. For each of us, this affects another 15 to 20 people.

“If our store gets sold to a non-union business, we go from middle class wages to Section 8 housing wages,” Wood said. “We’ll be spending less in our community. When you stop cutting meat in the store, what happens? Management thinks they save money. But what about the shoppers they lose?”

Deborah Snyder of Stafford, Va., attended the march and rally, noting, “I’ve shopped at my Giant for close to 40 years. When I heard this was happening, I knew I had to support the workers.”

After rallying in front of Giant headquarters, a group of marchers delivered four shopping carts full of signed petitions to company representatives. Afterwards, they told the crowd that while Giant offered to meet with individual workers and claimed its “priority” was to sell the stores to unionized companies that pay good wages and benefits, managers made no commitments.

“I was not satisfied with Giant’s answer,” Federici said. “No disrespect to the offer, but we want facts. We want them to put this in writing. We want them to respond to the official request by Local 400 and Local 27, and they still have not done so. Rhetoric does not put bread and butter on the table.”

Throughout the rally, a host of other union members, elected officials, community activists and religious leaders lent their voices of support. Virginia AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays, said, “We stand with you in this fight. How much is enough? You make $2 billion and that’s not enough? Enough’s enough. Don’t destroy lives and communities.” Ritchie Brooks, president of Teamsters Local 730, noted, “Local 400 has had our backs whenever we’ve needed you. And we’ve got your backs.”

Rev. Graylan Hagler, senior pastor of Plymouth United Church of Christ, told the marchers, “You do not stand alone. On this issue, we stand as one people. Folks will take away from you anything you’re not willing to fight for. When we stand together, when we fight together, when we stand arm in arm, we can take back the forces of greed every single day.”

Virginia State Sen. Scott Surovell (36th district), noting that Ahold and Delhaize are European-based companies, observed, “There, workers get taken care of. They shouldn’t come here and act like Walmart.”

Maryland State Sen. C. Anthony Muse (26th district) said, “No way you’re going to take these jobs way. No way we say Maryland is business friendly but not worker friendly. We’re telling Giant, this is not just about these stores [slated to be sold]. Your stores are throughout our state and we have a long memory.”

Monica Sarmiento, executive director of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights, said, “Shame on Giant for keeping UFCW in the dark. Their wealth was built off of your hard work. We will not be silent while you are robbed. You are not alone.”

Rally attendees pledged to keep fighting—and then some—to save their stores. “We’re not stopping now,” Federici emphasized. “This is not an end. We are not going to walk away.”

Other speakers at the march and rally included Md. Del. Edith Patterson (28th district), Washington Metro Labor Council Executive Director Carlos Jimenez, UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO member Gabriel Acever, Prince George’s County Southern Christian Leadership Conference President McArthur Bishop, DC Jobs With Justice Executive Director Nikki Lewis, DC Working Families Director Delvone Michael, Maryland Working Families Executive Director Charly Carter, Progressive Maryland Executive Director Larry Stafford, and Rev. Jamila Jaye Woods-Jones, pastor of Jabez Christian Community Church.

Photos from the Rally

Four Facts You Should Know About the Potential Ahold/Delhaize Merger

Delhaize-Ahold

There has been a lot of confusion and misinformation about the potential sale of eight Giant Food stores as a result of the potential merger of Ahold and Delhaize, the parent companies of Giant Food and Food Lion. While the company has been less than clear about the future of these stores, we would like to get the facts straight.

  1. The merger of Ahold and Delhaize is not complete. It has been approved by shareholders of both companies, but in order for the merger to go forward, it must first be approved by federal regulators, including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC has not approved the merger yet.
  2. The stores being marketed for sale were chosen by Ahold/Delhaize – the Federal Trade Commission did not order the company to sell any of these particular stores. While reviewing a potential merger, the Federal Trade Commission does not issue public statements until the process is complete. The FTC did not tell Ahold, Giant, or Delhaize which stores should be sold.
  3. Giant Food has not met with UFCW Local 400 to share details about the merger. Union staff received notice regarding which stores could potentially be sold on the same day employees at all eight stores were informed. Since then, there has been some back and forth with Giant, including a request for additional information, but they have not shared further details, a list of potential buyers, the reasons for choosing to sell these stores, or even a timeline.
  4. Your collective bargaining agreement protects you in the event your store is sold. As your union, it is our position that the seniority rights guaranteed in your contract will be in effect in the event your store is sold. See Article 5 and the addendum “Seniority Rules of the Fredericksburg addendum.”

Questions?

If you have questions about your job and work at one of the eight Giant Food stores slated for sale in Maryland and Virginia, contact us! Your union is here to help.

Contact UFCW Local 400

By phone: 1-800-638-0800
Monday-Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm

By email: ufcwlocal400@local400.org

Or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter.

Sign Up For Mobile Alerts

Text SAVEMYSTORE to 698329 to sign up for mobile alerts (message & data rates may apply).

Print This Fact Sheet (PDF)

Four Facts Every Employee Should Know

SAVE THE DATE: #SaveMyStore Campaign Announces Series of Town Hall Meetings

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On Tuesday, March 15, employees at eight area Giant Food stores were informed that their stores may be sold due to a corporate merger. Less than a week after hearing the news, we launched the #SaveMyStore campaign to bring together Giant employees, union members, and the communities we serve to save these stores. We can’t let a corporate merger in Europe take away good jobs and quality shopping options here at home.

In a matter of days, we have already collected more than 1,200 signatures on a petition to preserve the quality shopping, good jobs, and excellent customer service that we have come to expect from our local Giant grocery stores.

Today, we’re announcing a series of town hall meetings to discuss next steps. Giant Food employees, union members, customers, friends and neighbors are all invited to join us. With so many jobs at stake, together we will do whatever it takes to keep our communities intact.

RSVP for the Town Hall nearest you on Facebook. In the coming days, we’ll share more details about each town hall.

Save the Date: #SaveMyStore Town Halls

Fredericksburg #SaveMyStore Town Hall
Tuesday, April 12 at 6 pm
Hyatt Place Fredericksburg at Mary Washington, 1241 Jefferson Davis Highway, Fredericksburg, VA  22401
RSVP on Facebook

Accokeek #SaveMyStore Town Hall
Wednesday, April 13 at 6 pm
Hilton Garden Inn Waldorf, 10385 O’Donnell Place, Waldorf, MD  20603
RSVP on Facebook

La Plata #SaveMyStore Town Hall
Tuesday, April 19 at 6 pm
Holiday Inn Express La Plata, 6860 Crain Highway, La Plata, MD 20646
RSVP on Facebook

Stafford #SaveMyStore Town Hall
Wednesday, April 20 at 6 pm
Hampton Inn – Stafford, 2925 Jefferson Davis Highway, Stafford, VA  22554
RSVP on Facebook

Can’t make it to a town hall?

Sign up for text alerts!

This situation is developing quickly. We’re committed to keeping you informed every step of the way. Sign up for text alerts to stay in the loop (message & data rates may apply).

Text SAVEMYSTORE to 698329

Learn more at SaveMyStore.org

#SaveMyStore Rally Draws Crowd, Media Attention In Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg Giant Food employees joined by local elected officials and community leaders to launch #SaveMyStore campaign

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Yesterday, nearly 100 Giant Food employees were joined by local elected officials and community leaders to launch a campaign to save six stores in the region Fredericksburg region (and two others in southern Maryland) from potential sale.

Last week, following shareholder approval of the merger of Ahold and Delhaize, the parent companies of local grocery chains Giant Food, Food Lion, and Martin’s, employees at several area stores were informed that their stores may be sold as a result of the merger.

With the future of so many jobs at stake, workers at Giant Food stores in Fredericksburg held a press conference to tell Ahold/Delhaize and any potential buyers that they will do whatever it takes to preserve their collective bargaining agreement – regardless of who owns the stores or what brand they are operated under.

Robyn Wheeler, who works at the store where the press conference was held, has 36 years with the company. Her father worked for Giant for nearly 38 years and her daughter and son-in-law also work there. “Together, we have 95 years of experience with this company. We just want to keep our jobs and our customers,” she said.

Because the merger has yet to be approved by federal regulators, there is very little definitive information at this point, but attendees were undaunted.

“I’ve got no more information about this situation than you do right now,” said Mark Federici, President of UFCW Local 400. “And that’s the hardest thing, is this whole circumstance is as clear as mud,” he said. “You’re looking for answers. You’re looking at things as to which way it’s going to go. What choices you’re going to have to make. Right now nobody can answer any of those questions.”

The workers were joined by several community leaders, including Mary Katherine Greenlaw, Mayor of the City of Fredericksburg; Vernon Green Jr., Vice President of the Stafford Branch of the NAACP; Rev. Hashmel Turner, a former city councilman; and Luis Aguilar, Advocacy and Elections Specialist for CASA.

Sign Up For Text Alerts

To stay in the loop as this campaign develops, sign up for our mobile text alerts:

Text SAVEMYSTORE to 698329 (message and data rates may apply).

Press Coverage

‘Save my store,’ Giant/Martin’s workers rally to keep jobs amid sale
by Alix Bryan & Shelby Brown
CBS 6 / WTVR-TV

Pending merger causing anxiety for local grocery store workers
by Jonathan Costen
ABC 8 News / WRIC-TV

Fredericksburg area Giant workers hope to keep jobs
by Cathy Jett
The Free Lance-Star

Local Giant Workers Rally for Their Jobs
by Susan Larson
Fredericksburg Today

Ahold USA Does Not Expect to Close Any Giant Food Stores After Merger
By Susan Larson
Fredericksburg Today

Fredericksburg area Giant workers hope to keep jobs
by Cathy Jett
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Giant workers in Fredericksburg area to speak out about possible sale
by Cathy Jett
The Free Lance-Star

Giant Rally-Fredericksburg
by Ted Schubel
WBQB/WFVA-Fredericksburg

Photos from the Rally