Prepare to shop at Safeway/Fry’s this weekend to thwart union picketing

Photo courtesy of the Arizona Republic

Photo courtesy of the Arizona Republic

In a strikingly bizarre twist, grocery store employees at Safeway and Fry’s Grocery have been picketing the stores’ union this week in order to stop it from picketing. The  United Food & Commercial Union Local 99 is threatening to go on strike this Friday at 6pm over health insurance. Their reason? Safeway and Fry’s are planning on starting to charge employees a minimal cost for health insurance – $5 – $15/wk – which they now provide for free. The union is refusing to accept any cost at all. Even this minimal cost! Considering how expensive healthcare is, it seems ridiculous that the union can force the company to continue providing all health insurance for free.

Many Safeway and Fry’s employees realize this, and do not want to be out of work indefinitely during this down economy, right before Christmas.  Estimates are that over 20,000 employees will be affected. Non-union employees may be prevented from working during the strike, and will receive no compensation. Union employees will receive $100/week in strike pay, a piddly amount, not much to tide them over. Arizona is a right to work state, meaning employees are not required to join unions. A strike will likely affect the non-union employees who just want to work.  This is unfair.

Safeway and Fry’s have been preparing for the strike by hiring temporary workers to fill in. Out of care for their longtime employees, they are only hiring temporary employees, not permanent replacements. The two chains are sticking together, agreeing that if the union goes on strike against one chain, the other chain will lock its union employees out.

It is irresponsible of the union to be calling for a strike based on demands for free healthcare, especially at this time of year when the employees don’t want it. The unions aren’t representing the employees, they are representing the interests of the socialist bosses who run them. Most Americans realize that healthcare isn’t free, no matter how hard Obama and the Democrats in Congress try to ram it down our throats.

The last strike like this occurred in California against subsidiaries of Safeway and Fry’s in 2003, lasting 20 weeks and costing the stores billions of dollars.

It is looking like a satisfactory agreement will not be achieved by 6pm Friday night. If so, the union will  start picketing certain stores. They may only target Safeway, since Safeway has been struggling financially more than Fry’s. Or they may target just a few stores. Regardless, be prepared to shop at Safeway and Fry’s this weekend. Even if you don’t regularly shop at those stores, please consider stopping by to encourage them and keep their sales up. I am holding off my weekly shopping until this weekend and intend to buy extra purchases in addition there, instead of making an extra trip to Walmart to buy certain items cheaper. Don’t let a few socialists running the unions force their unrealistic demands upon employees against their will, causing them to suffer this Christmas season. Even the Arizona Republic has editorialized against the union strike! The union no longer represents the interests of its employees.

The National Right to Work Foundation is offering free legal aid to employees during the strike. There is some concern that union officials will try and prohibit union members from working during the strike, and NRWF wants to make sure union members know their rights. Union members have a right to continue working during the strike, however they may want to resign from the union in order to avoid oppressive union disciplinary actions and fines. They can also sign a decertification petition to hold a secret ballot election to remove the union hierarchy from the workplace.


  1. I always shop at Safeway, and I will happily continue to do so during the strike.

  2. Looks like I’ll be shopping at Basha’s or Sunflower. I don’t cross picket lines or go to businesses that use scabs.

  3. “it seems ridiculous that the union can force the company to continue providing all health insurance for free”

    Doesn’t the company provide health care based on the fact that employees *work* for it? This is not *for free* this means effectively a pay cut to employees. In fact, employees have foregone increased pay in previous years to continue to have health care.

    Unions now have very little legal power, especially in ‘right to work’ states so it is doubtful they will come out as winners in this one.

  4. I shop frys anyway. I just applIed for a job at frys today. I can’t wait to see the union employees picketing. I bet u 10 to 1 most of them are mexicans led around by their white handlers. Yes race IS a factor in this. If you don’t understand that look up La Raza. Things are coming to a head around the country. What surprises me is the terrorist attack at Ft. Hood didn’t spark the fire we need. There needs to be a great cleansing in this country or else we need to divide it and let the leeching masses live in one part and the rest of us in another.

  5. Difficult choice for me.

    I greatly appreciate the employee’s in the Safeway that I shop on a regular basis. I would hate to cross the picket line.

    However, these are tough times. There are a lot of people out of work. If you’ve got a job at this time, it doesn’t seem to me to make a lot of sense to go on strike.

    Are Fry’s/Safeway taking advantage of this economic situation to lower employee expenses. Yeah, probably. But they have to cut expenses just like everybody else.

    I’ll probably cross the picket line … every other week … just to be fair/unfair to both sides.

  6. “What surprises me is the terrorist attack at Ft. Hood didn’t spark the fire we need. There needs to be a great cleansing in this country…”

    Did you copy that from your “Turner Diaries” coloring book?

  7. Democratic PC says

    Are the publishers of SA going to condemn the comments left by “Ashen”? Seriously?

  8. Hah you people are too easy!

  9. Unless there’s a widespread anti-boycott it makes no sense to try to shop at one store or another for political reasons. Those customers are just not going to make a difference, and what you’re really doing is steering traffic away from Bashas’.

  10. Upton Sinclair says

    Maybe if you did something about the problem of ILLEGAL ALIENS, as conservative philosophy dictates, this wouldn’t be a problem.

  11. This all goes to a similar issue as immigrants who get jobs and work for less than US citizens.

    If there is a job to be done and someone is willing to do it then by what right does someone deny work to two willing parties?

    Calling strikebreakers scabs is a immoral tactic to keep businesses from hiring willing workers over those who are unwilling and prevent workers from obtaining a job at a wage they are happy with.

  12. Antifederalist says

    Untersturmfuhrer Klute,
    We both know we hate each other’s guts, but that comment about the Turner Diaries coloring book gave me a good guffaw! VERY witty, hombre. Good one. I’d buy you a beer over that one!

    Now, we should all know by now from reading Antifederalist comments that I hate unions. We it not for lame federal laws like the Wagner Act and a few others keeping those antediluvian organizations alive, unions would be long dead. Those acts should be repealed and the free market should be allowed to take its course. How I long for the days when Reagan fired the striking air traffic controllers wholesale and Phelps Dodge gunned down striking workers!

    Unions are DIRECTLY responsible for doing economic violence to consumers (making them pay more for goods and services) and companies sending their plants overseas for cheaper labor. No unions = lower prices for consumers + more jobs. It’s NOT stimulus that creates jobs, but deregulation.

  13. Thane,

    “Calling strikebreakers scabs is a immoral tactic blah blah blah…”

    Wait, I think I included the response in the quote.


    A compliment is a compliment, thank you, glad you enjoyed it.

    Back to Thane…

    “…Phelps Dodge gunned down striking workers!”

    I’m going to stick my “scabs” commentary, thankyouverymuch.

  14. The Klute – 10

  15. I ordinarily do either Food City, Sunflower, or Albertsons, but will go out of my way to support the right to work. Thanks for the heads up. Will echo it at Goldwater State.

    Come on, Thane, why take anyone who would call a fellow human being a “scab” seriously? Two sentences is too much–it’d be like Nozick writing Anarchy, State, and Utopia to respond to the neighborhood bigot. “Scab” is the province of probably-mentally-ill “flashers” these days. I wouldn’t bother.

  16. Upton Sinclair says

    “If there is a job to be done and someone is willing to do it then by what right does someone deny work to two willing parties?”

    Ok, now take away their free healthcare and the buffet of social services our AMERICAN CITIZENS finance to ILLEGAL ALIENS and tell me if this is a true market or not. It is you ELITIST TRAITORS who sell out your own countrymen in order to maintain your income levels and social position. There is NO JUSTIFICATION for allowing ILLEGAL ALIENS in our country, even in times of 20% unemployment you still manage to justify it. IT IS AN ABSOLUTE ABOMINATION.

  17. Bashas rules says

    Forget Safeway and Fry’s we have an Arizona family owned
    grocery chain we should support- Bashas
    If you may recall, Eddie Basha agreed to be Gifford’s
    honorary campaign chair when she first ran.
    Along comes Grijalva and his union thugs and told Giffords
    unless she was able to get him to hire union workers at his grocery
    chains they would make sure she never got elected.
    Well we all know what Gabby did and how she got elected.

    Bashas gets my business

  18. And it looks like the collective strength of the employees (you know, the people who actually earn the money for the company) may have paid off – walkout averted, and the union is reviewing a contract… but we’ll see if the UFCW rolled over or got what they wanted.

  19. Antifederalist says

    You’re PATENTLY wrong. I’ve worked as an electrician’s assistant while I was in college to help pay for my education, so I know full well EXACTLY how unionized electricians perform on the job: they intentionally work slowly. That’s NOT efficiency. It’s not just my experience, but another college buddy told me that while working at the post office, unionized postal employees were intentionally trying to slow down work to “show management we need more help.” (Um, you wouldn’t need more help if you bothered to DO YOUR JOB!) Again, union employees breeding inefficiency. They should have all been fired. I KNOW I worked harder than those unionized idiots. So, don’t tell me I’ve never worked hard at manual labor.

    I have YET in my life to work without working from paycheck-to-paycheck. I look forward to the days when I might earn enough to not only reduce my debt, but put a little aside for retirement. I STILL hate unions. They won’t be the ones to ensure that I earn enough to be comfortable. That’s entirely up to me.

    Unlike you, I UNDERSTAND what at-will employment means. And I embrace it. I knew I could be fired at any time (just like I could give my employer the finger at any time), and I worked hard to make sure I was never let go. That is the way things SHOULD be. No one has a RIGHT to a job, especially one they intentionally perform poorly at. In fact, having a right to a job is counterproductive. An employee’s SALARY or WAGES cuts off any rights to a job that an employee might have. The property rights lie with the owners, NOT the workers. What you support is Soviet Union-style thinking…and I remind you that it was the unions (called soviets) that overthrew Czarist Russia. That you even associate with entities akin to those that instituted a murderous regime is sick.

    I will ALWAYS cross picket lines. In fact, I’ll seek them out to cross them on purpose. Death to the unions. I applaud WalMart for educating their potential employees about the danger of unions. If I ever run a business, I’d do the EXACT same thing and I’d fire anyone who ever joined a union, the feds be damned.

  20. I was so looking forward to crossing picket lines.

    I wish people would get a clue about Bashas, too. So what if they don’t have unions. They support EVERYTHING else about the socialist agenda except that which effects their own bottom line. Don’t shop at Bashas!!! or worse, Bashas’ dirty Food City stores!!!

  21. In a way it is refreshing to see someone like Antifederalist stand up and truly embrace the exploitation instead of Thane’s mythical world of worker and employer in a two way contract between individuals.

    I also find it Antifederalist’s comments interesting because in them I find an answer as to how people involved in fascist governments justify to themselves the extreme measures taken to destroy unions. Here I am thinking of the great mass murders an tortures in Indonesia and many Latin American countries in which being a member of a union or wanting to start a union could mean at the very least facing torture and at worst having you and your family be murdered.

    I note the language Antifederalist uses. You see, unions are perpetrating economic ‘violence’ and this violence should be met with machine gunning them all down. People stocking shelves at the local supermarket who want health insurance are a hair’s breath away from being Stalin. I guess if one can convince oneself of these things then it is possible to justify almost anything.

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