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Growing List of Elected Officials Lend Support to Grocery Workers Threatened by Corporate Merger

Local elected officials show outpouring of support for hundreds of Giant Food employees in the region threatened by a corporate merger overseas

Prince George’s County Councilmember Mel Franklin sharing his support at the #SaveMyStore Town Hall in Accokeek, Maryland.

Prince George’s County Councilmember Mel Franklin sharing his support at the #SaveMyStore Town Hall in Accokeek, Maryland.

In March, employees at eight Giant Food grocery stores in the region were told their stores could be sold thanks to a corporate merger between Ahold and Delhaize, the European-based parent companies of Giant Food and Food Lion.

They weren’t told when this would happen or even what would happen to their jobs. Instead, they were told to keep it to themselves and get back to work. As one cashier recalled, “management told me, ‘don’t tell the customers, you might scare them away!’”

 But with hundreds of their jobs at stake, they weren’t going to keep this quiet. Together with their union, UFCW Local 400, the employees launched the #SaveMyStore campaign to bring together Giant employees, union members, and the communities they serve to save these stores.

From the start, the campaign drew support from elected officials and political leaders in the area, and that momentum has only continued to grow.

Fredericksburg Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw, who recently won re-election to a second term, was among the earliest to lend her support to the Giant employees and spoke at the campaign’s kickoff event in March. She was joined by former city councilmember, Rev. Hashmel Turner.

In neighboring Stafford County, Timothy J. Baroody, Deputy County Administrator of the Stafford County Department of Economic Development, wrote an open letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging them to allow the Giant stores to remain open.

“They, and the people they employ, are great contributors to our collective quality of life in Stafford County,” Baroody explained.

Scott Surovell, who represents District 36 in the Virginia state senate, has agreed to speak in support of the campaign at the upcoming #SaveMyStore rally on May 11, while at the federal level, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia and and Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland’s 5th congressional district also expressed their support for the workers’ efforts.

Over in Maryland, state and county leaders have been equally enthusiastic in their support.

At a campaign event in Accokeek, Maryland, Prince George’s County councilmember Mel Franklin shared wisdom from his years of experience at the Federal Trade Commission, the agency which must approve the merger before it can move forward.

“We have to get organized, get to the FTC and weigh in with them so they know our concerns,” Franklin said. “At the end of the day, we need to win.”

Delegate Edith Patterson from Maryland’s 28th district was similarly supportive. “You are more than workers, you are family,” she told attendees at a town hall in La Plata, Maryland, while holding up her Giant bonus card.

“I will be with you,” Patterson added when asked if she would attend the rally on May 11. Maryland SenatorAnthony Muse from district 26 has also pledged to attend, while Delegate Kris Valderrama also expressed support for the campaign.

Campaign representatives have also met with Governor Terry McAuliffe’s staff in Virginia, as well as the state’s attorney general, Mark Herring, in an effort to influence the outcome of the FTC process.

But with the company refusing to provide additional details on the store sales as the FTC process continues, union leaders and Giant employees will continue to reach out to every elected official in the region to gather support.

On May 11, the campaign plans to deliver thousands of signatures on a petition to the company directly to Giant Food headquarters in Landover, Maryland.

 

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.

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

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Four Facts Every Employee Should Know