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Union Pushes to Organize Genuardi's Employees

PHILADELPHIA - In an effort to organize employees at Norristown, Pa.-based Genuardi's Family Markets, five United Food and Commercial Workers union locals are planning a big campaign over Memorial Day weekend, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The unions plan increased picketing and a radio advertising campaign encouraging Genuardi's customers to shop elsewhere.

Anthony Cinaglia, president of UFCW Local 56 in Cherry Hill, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that employees of the Safeway-owned chain are calling on the locals. He said when the Genuardi family owned the 40-store supermarket chain, employees never reached out to the unions.

"Safeway has de-Genuardized the stores," said Wendell Young 3rd, president of Local 1776 in Blue Bell. "They are treating their employees shabbily."

Genuardi's employs 7,000 in 40 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Those targeted by the unions include cashiers, clerks, butchers, bakers and stockroom workers, among others.

"Genuardi's has always been nonunion throughout its 81-year history, and the employees have never felt the need to have a union intervene," Genuardi's spokeswoman Maryanne Crager told the Inquirer. "With the transition, some things have changed, and I guess the union feels this is an opportunity to try to get in. Genuardi's Safeway is committed to giving the employees a voice."

While Local 56 is picketing the stores, Local 1776 has been holding meetings with workers.

Local 1776 also financed the radio spot, which, if successful, will run throughout the summer, particularly around the holidays when more shoppers are visiting supermarkets, according to the newspaper.
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