Saturday UFCW Local 400 took it to the streets to talk to DC residents about how the loss of skilled meat cutting jobs is about to affect their choice in quality food. Giant members and community allies hit the parking lot outside the Brentwood Giant in the District to educate the customers about the pre-packaged meat program that Giant is piloting in their neighborhood store.
“I’m glad we are taking this opportunity to engage our customers and tell them about what’s really going on in their store and in particular their meat department,” said Vincent Washington, UFCW Local 400 member and meat cutter at Giant #316. “It’s important that we continue to give our customers the quality meats Giant is famous for!”
Members encouraged customers to fill out support cards indicating that they want skilled meat cutters serving selections daily in their store. Within two hours the meat manager was hand delivered 400 signed support cards.
“Many customers were unaware about the recent change to pre-packaged meat at this location.” said William Riley, Local 400 member and meat cutter at Giant #375. “And once they realized that quality product and jobs were at risk they were immediately concerned and right away signed a card to take into the store.”
Local 400 members and community are noticing that this may be the first signs of the “Walmart Effect” on beltway supermarkets. In 2000, Walmart eliminated all skilled meat cutting jobs after meat cutters at one store voted to form a union.
“Giant should not mess with the integrity of the meat program that has been in place all these years,” said Calvin Parker, Local 400 member and meat cutter at Giant #2381. “Freshness and customer service has been the back-bone of the program and now with the threat of eliminating meat cutter jobs, Giant may not have either.”
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