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Safeway Distribution Center Closure Averted

Safeway representatives, Teamsters Union leaders and elected officials have come to an agreement to prevent the closure of a Safeway Collington distribution center in Prince George’s County, Md. According to the union, the agreement will not only save more than 700 Teamster warehouse jobs, but also add another 25 positions at the facility.

The Teamsters further noted that the agreement poises the company for potential expansion as Safeway’s parent company, the Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos. Inc., continues to grow its East Coast presence.

Keene, N.H.-based C&S Wholesale Grocers, which operates the distribution center and employs its workers through its Collington Services LLC subsidiary, had originally intended to relocate the warehouse operations to Pennsylvania, which would have affected 700-plus workers, most of them Prince George’s County residents. Under the new agreement, Safeway will take over operation of the Collington DC, located in Upper Marlboro, Md., and current C&S employees, who are represented by Teamsters Locals 730 and 639, in Washington, D.C., will become Safeway employees.

Each local’s members voted overwhelmingly for the new collective bargaining agreement with Safeway, which guarantees no outsourcing of jobs during the term of the contract, which expires in May 2022.

Last October, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa requested that Albertsons CEO Robert Miller call a halt to the impending shutdown and layoffs. After Maryland state officials added their voices to the cause, the layoffs were put off until February, granting time to the parties involved to come up with an alternative.

"This agreement allows skilled employees to continue to work for a company that they loved and sacrificed for, some for more than 30 years," noted Local 730 President Ritchie Brooks. "The key to this is that everyone banded together. Labor, political leaders and the community all came together to show Safeway our solidarity."

Local and state officials have pledged almost $1.5 million in financial incentives to keep the warehouse in the county for the term of the agreement.

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