Unionized grocery workers in Northern California opposing Wal-Mart's planned introduction of up to 30 neighborhood markets, saying stores are a threat to unionized grocery industry workers

Cindy Allen

Cindy Allen

Feb 9, 2012 – Business Wire

SAN JOSE, California , February 9, 2012 () – Unionized grocery workers in Northern California have come out against the introduction of Walmart neighborhood markets into the region. Walmart stores has announced its intent to build up to thirty neighborhood markets, stores averaging thirty to forty thousand square feet which will compete directly with unionized companies like Safeway and Luckys. This is a departure from the company’s previous strategy of building supercenters and proves that members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union, Local 5 have been successful in blunting the growth of the superstore sector.

“Walmart’s new move into the traditional grocery store sector is a departure in tactics on their part and a direct threat to our members in the grocery industry,” said Ron Lind President of UFCW Local 5. Walmart has built out their stores in rural and suburban areas and has met much resistance to their expansion in more urban areas. “That is the reason for this change.”

Walmart has proposed building their first neighborhood store in Pleasanton, CA site of Safeway’s corporate headquarters, an irony not lost on union members. John Roe a Local 5 member and Safeway employee said, “Walmart may be taking the fight directly to the center of the unionized grocery industry in Northern California but we will make sure the industry continues to provide good pay and benefits for workers. We’re not going to let them waltz in and destroy a lot of good jobs and families in the process.”

UFCW President Lind concluded, “Thousands of good jobs and the livelihood of tens of thousands of our members are jeopardized by Walmart’s plans. We intend on fighting this threat with every ounce of our strength.”

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