Safeway’s Labor Problems Grow

Mar 13, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Associates of Genuardi’s Supermarkets held a labor rally at the Safeway company’s
headquarters outside of Philadelphia yesterday.

The protesting employees seek union representation with the United Food and
Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Wendell Young, president, Local 1776 of the UFCW said, “Today’s rally is just
the start of the UFCW’s campaign to allow Genuardi’s workers to have the protections
and rights that come with a union contract.”

In a separate announcement, Safeway said it would participate in the Merrill
Lynch Retailing Leaders Conference next Wednesday, March 19, 2003 at 12:00 p.m.
(EST). It can be viewed live on the Safeway web site at

Moderator’s Comment: Should an element of evaluating
management performance include an assessment of employee morale and job satisfaction?
Does Safeway need a change in leadership to deal with the company’s challenges?

Safeway has been faulted here and elsewhere for being
out of touch with the needs of its shoppers. It has a long way to go on the
employee front, as well.

Ryan Mathews wrote in the January 2003 issue of Grocery
Headquarters, “The problem isn’t with workers – it lies firmly with management.
People still want to work, but even in today’s economy they have a broad range
of options among entry-level jobs. In terms of top management, maybe we need
to remember that the kind of people we want to attract are going to want to
be able to put their own unique stamp on the industry. If we’re not prepared
to let them do that, we ought to at least stop being surprised that they opt
out of working for us.” [George
Anderson – Moderator

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