Organic Consumers Association

Union Leaders Call for Boycott of Safeway Supermarkets

December 18, 2003, Issue #313
Monitoring Corporate Agribusiness
>From a Public Interest Perspective

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ALEX VEIGA, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Union leaders plan to urge members to boycott North American stores owned by Safeway Inc. in support of 70,000 grocery
clerks who have been on strike for two months in Southern California.

"We want to empty those stores," said Doug Dority, international president
of the United Food and Commercial Workers, on [December 16]. "We want to
make sure these cash registers are empty."

Safeway, Albertsons Inc. and Kroger Co. are locked in the dispute with their
Southern California workers over the cost of health care coverage and other

Union leaders have said they consider Safeway the leader of the management

In some cases, the UFCW also planned to extend picket lines to Safeway
stores outside the region in an attempt to keep employees from reporting to
work, UFCW national spokesman Greg Denier said.

He declined to say when the boycott campaign would begin.

Safeway officials said they didn't expect the tactic to influence the

The unions' strategy was announced after 500 leaders and workers met for two
hours behind closed doors at a hotel and then marched with thousands of
other workers to a supermarket in Beverly Hills.

Clerks went on strike or were locked out October 11 at nearly 860 Ralphs,
Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions stores from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.
Safeway owns the Vons and Pavilion chains.

Negotiations were scheduled to resume Friday for the first time in ten days.

The UFCW said the chains had shaved $1.08 an hour off their proposed
contribution to health care premiums.

The grocery companies countered they were no longer willing to absorb all
the costs involved in maintaining health care benefits, saying they face
pressure from Wal-Mart, Costco and other supermarket operators that don't
pay as much toward employee benefits.

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