112396From Union City—(Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)
“Come on, sign this card,” said the customer at the White Oak Giant in Silver Spring. “Everyone line up and sign up to support these workers!” Thousands of Giant and Safeway customers yesterday signed cards supporting workers there as members of UFCW Local 400 leafleted more than 30 area supermarkets. The actions were coordinated to support ongoing contract negotiations for some 17,000 Giant/Safeway workers. The existing contract was set to expire at midnight Thursday, but on Wednesday was extended through November 15. “Our customers love us,” said pharmacist Michelle Mathis, who works in the Germantown Road Giant pharmacy. Mathis greeted many of the customers by name as they stopped to chat and sign support cards, often hugging her before they continued into the supermarket. “The problem is that (Giant parent company) Ahold is trying to take things back from us that we worked so hard for,” Mathis said. “I’m a single parent and can’t survive without health insurance. That’s just wrong.” Mathis, spotting another familiar face, called out “How’s your baby girl?” and hurried over to chat with the customer and get another card signed.
– report/photo by Chris Garlock