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NorCal Grocery Workers Want to Block Walmart’s Neighborhood Markets

Unionized grocery workers in Northern California have come out against the introduction of Walmart neighborhood markets into the region.

Walmart Stores, based in Bentonville, Ark., has said that it intends to build up to 30 Neighborhood Markets—stores averaging 30,000 to 40,000 s.f. that will compete directly with unionized companies like Safeway and Lucky.

This is a departure from the company’s previous strategy of building Supercenters, large stores that contain both a supermarket and a general merchandise store under one roof.

“Walmart’s new move into the traditional grocery store sector is a departure in tactics on their part and a direct threat to our members in the grocery industry,” said Ron Lind, president of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 5. “Walmart has built out their stores in rural and suburban areas and has met much resistance to their expansion in more urban areas. That is the reason for this change.”

Walmart has proposed building its first Neighborhood Market in Pleasanton, Calif., where Safeway’s corporate headquarters is located.

John Roe, a Local 5 member and Safeway employee, said, “Walmart may be taking the fight directly to the center of the unionized grocery industry in Northern California but we will make sure the industry continues to provide good pay and benefits for workers. We’re not going to let them waltz in and destroy a lot of good jobs and families in the process.”

Lind added, “Thousands of good jobs and the livelihood of tens of thousands of our members are jeopardized by Walmart’s plans. We intend on fighting this threat with every ounce of our strength.”

 

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