Unionized Shoppers Workers Mobilize

Following successfully concluded talks with Giant-Landover and Safeway, members of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400  working at Shoppers Food & Pharmacy have formed an Activist Contract Team (ACT!) and launched a website in support of collective bargaining.

Local 400 members are backing Shoppers workers in their demands for a contract to replace the one set to expire on July 7. Landover, Md.-based Shoppers is a banner of Supervalu in Minneapolis

“We will not let Shoppers/Supervalu dump its financial problems on our members’ backs,” said Local 400 president Tom McNutt. “Workers are Shoppers’ greatest asset and the solution to the company’s problems, which lie exclusively in the executive suites. We are going to emphatically make the case that investing in Shoppers’ workers in the best and only way for the company to start growing and profiting again.”

One major issue likely to arise during negotiations is Supervalu’s operation of a non-union banner, Save-A-Lot, which has stores in many of the same markets and communities as Supervalu union banners. “Cannibalizing yourself has never ranked as a sound business strategy,” McNutt noted, “and Save-A-Lots are losing money. Rather than eat itself alive, Supervalu needs to invest in its union workers and banners so it can start eating the competition.”

A Shoppers spokesman responded: "We are in active negotiations with the UFCW to reach agreement on a new contract for our Shoppers stores, and we are working through challenging issues. We have every reason to believe we will be able to reach a fair and reasonable agreement that will allow us to serve our customers while continuing to provide our associates with good wages; access to quality, affordable health care; and retirement benefits." The spokesman added that the banner's stores remained open and operating normally throughout the negotiation process.

Landover-based Local 400 represents 40,000 members working in the retail food, health care, retail department store, food-processing, service and other industries in Maryland; Virginia; Washington, D.C.; West Virginia; Ohio; Kentucky; and Tennessee.

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