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Some D.C.-area Safeways to Stay Open Christmas Day

WASHINGTON - Safeway will keep open a number of its supermarkets in the Washington, D.C. area, including Genuardi's locations, on Christmas Day.

More than 61 stores out of 140 in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia will be open Saturday, Dec. 25, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., staffed by limited numbers of volunteers, with those whose seniority stipulates it receiving triple overtime pay, Craig Muckle, director of public affairs for Safeway's eastern division, told Progressive Grocer.

According Muckle, the grocer decided to stay open to cater to the region's multicultural population, which includes many individuals who don't celebrate the holiday.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 400, however, has objected to the Safeway division's decision to remain open on Christmas Day.

"We believe it is inappropriate, when almost all other businesses are closed for their employees and their families, for Safeway to break ranks and turn this special holiday into 'just another business day,'" union president C. James Lowthers wrote in a letter to Safeway officials. The letter added that if the company was unable to get a sufficient number of volunteers to staff stores and began drafting workers in inverse seniority, the union would respond "with all appropriate actions." Lowthers was not available for comment.

Muckle noted that Safeway has stayed open on Christmas Day for years in vacation communities around the United States, among them Colorado ski resorts such as Vail.

--Bridget Goldschmidt
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