Members of Local 400 were joined by other union members, community activists, and elected officials. Local leaders in attendance included Virginia Delegate Hala Ayala (51st District); Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy; Maryland State Senator Arthur Ellis (28th District); Maryland Delegate Jazz Lewis (24th District); Maryland Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher (18th District); and D.C. Council Members Robert White (At-Large) and Elissa Silverman (At-Large).
“We’re letting Giant and Safeway know that it’s time to share the success our members make possible,” said UFCW Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “We expect living wages so no one has to be on food stamps to feed their families. We expect better hours, scheduling predictability and more full-time jobs. We expect continued health and retirement security. We’re all here as one voice. One voice to call for fairness and decency. And when all of us stand together, we can’t lose!”
Michelle Lee, who works at Safeway #1283 in Alexandria, Va., reminded management that the human touch provided by UFCW Local 400 members is the key to customer loyalty and the company’s success.
“When the customers come in the store, who knows their birthdays?” she asked. “When the customer comes in the store and they have a new baby, who’s there to congratulate them? When the customer comes in the store and a spouse has passed, who’s there to be with them and support them? When the children graduate from high school or from college, who’s there to congratulate them? When the customers are going through a financial situation and they need someone to talk to, who’s there to lend them a listening ear?”
“We know our customers, we love our customers, they love us,” Lee added. “We know what type of coffee they want. We know how they want their meat sliced. We know whether they want ham or pork or pimento cheese or Swiss cheese. Our customers know that we care about them and that’s why they shop at Safeway.”
“We know what we want,” said Jane St. Louis, who works at Safeway #2794 in Damascus, Md., and serves on the Bargaining Committee and the UFCW Local 400 Executive Board. “Now, we hope Giant and Safeway know what we want. Because all of us are strong and we have a lot of strength in our faith, we have a lot of strength in our work ethic and our ability, and they won’t know what hit them if they don’t come to the table and listen to what we have to say.”
The current collective bargaining agreements between Local 400 and Giant and Safeway expire on October 31.