dr jekyll and mr hyde graphic

Stop with the Dr. Jekeyll-Mr. Hyde Act Ahold, Safeway & Supervalu!

You’ve probably heard of the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the famous story by Robert Louis Stevenson about the kindly, respected Dr. Henry Jekyll and the evil, murderous Edward Hyde—two sides of the very same person.

Well, that’s essentially the way some of our employers are behaving. Despite the fact that split personalities are just as bad for business as they are for people.

Giant-Landover, Safeway and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy are playing the role of Dr. Jekyll for their corporate parents—Ahold, Safeway and Supervalu, respectively. While we have our differences with management, they respect their workers and the union that represents them, and recognize that Local 400 members provide unmatched productivity and consistent profitability. They offer full-time jobs at living wages that can lead to lifelong careers, while providing health and retirement security.

Playing the role of Mr. Hyde for these multinational corporations are their non-union operations. Martin’s (a Virginia chain controlled and operated by Ahold’s Giant-Carlisle division), Genuardi’s (a mid-Atlantic chain controlled and operated by Safeway) and Farm Fresh (a Virginia chain controlled and operated by Supervalu) treat their workers poorly, pay them less and deny them a voice in the workplace. They’re more likely to keep workers on part-time status, offer little in the way of opportunity, and provide far fewer benefits.

The great danger of this corporate schizophrenia, for lack of a better word, is that Ahold, Safeway and Supervalu will be tempted to funnel the profits our members’ hard work generates into their non-union divisions, while letting their union operations wither and die of neglect. In addition, Martin’s and Farm Fresh pose a direct threat to our members working at Kroger in the Richmond and Tidewater areas of Virginia.

That’s why Local 400 members are united in demanding that our employers stop this act and start behaving as a responsible corporate citizen, recognizing that their union workers are the reason for their growth and profitability. To help further this process and to assist retail workers who lack our protections, our members are reaching out to Martin’s and Farm Fresh employees in Virginia, listening to their concerns and explaining how union representation empowers them to improve their lives and do their jobs better.

In time, whether by persuasion or by the demands of their very own workers, we are confident that Ahold, Safeway and Supervalu will jettison their Mr. Hyde sides and once again become wall-to-wall union companies with higher productivity and greater profits. That will be good for their bottom lines, good for consumers, and good for the industry as a whole.