More than 10,000 Safeway workers represented in its union may be sparked into a strike that could disrupt operations at 116 D.C. area locations, reports the Washington Post.
Following a disagreement over the retailer’s pension policies, union workers are demanding “fair contracts” from the private equity-owned management.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, representing workers at Safeway and Giant stores on the East Coast of the U.S., are in ongoing negotiations with Albertsons – the management company owned by Cerberus Capital Management since 2019.
For the strike to happen, Local 400 members would have to reject the management’s offer and after that, two-thirds of the union would have to vote in favor of a strike. The vote will take place on March 5 and the strike could happen the following day.
Safeway workers’ contracts expired in October and an extension has been in place since then. The dispute over pensions is considered the consequence of increased automation, outsourcing and low profits for grocers across the industry.
Organized labor’s response to the turmoil of the retail industry is just this. Safeway pensions in particular have been entirely phased out as financial executives favor 401(k) plans that have less long term liabilities for private companies.
Competitors Aldi and Lidl have also expanded throughout the U.S., placing pressure on Safeway and potentially adding to the decision from management.
To read the full article, click here.