Last week, we learned that 17 Shoppers stores will be sold or closed in the coming weeks. The 26 remaining stores will stay up for sale and UNFI has indicated that they plan on selling or closing all of them in the coming months.
For the last year, we have campaigned to demand a meeting with UNFI to ensure that our members aren’t left out in the cold when these stores close or are sold. Now, after more than a year, UNFI has finally agreed to meet with us.
Next week, we will meet with UNFI to negotiate the terms and conditions of the layoffs. We intend to do everything in our power to hold UNFI accountable under the law and under our union contract. We will make it clear that we expect our members to be taken care of in the event of their store closing, including:
- Significant severance pay
- Continuing healthcare coverage after a store closure
- Providing job search assistance and retraining
- Providing at least 90 days’ notice before store closures as suggested by Maryland law
- Following our current collective bargaining agreement in any purchase agreements
These demands partially come from the guidelines that the state of Maryland provides to employers seeking to lay off large numbers of employees in a responsible manner. There is no reason UNFI cannot follow these recommendations and assure us that every Shoppers associate is treated with dignity and respect.
We will update you throughout the negotiation process. If any new information comes to light, we will share it with you immediately. We are committed to keeping you informed every step of the way.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to talk to your union representative or call the union office:
UFCW Local 400: (301) 459-3400
UFCW Local 27: 410-337-2700 ext 800
Please note: If your call is not answered, please leave a voicemail message including your name, store, and phone number and a union representative will follow up with you promptly.