PHOTO FROM SAVE MY STORE UFCW LOCAL 400

Waldorf, MD – A food fight could be brewing in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Two iconic grocery store chains have merged and the consolidation process may well result in shuttered stores, properties for sale and a significant loss of jobs. Some of the jobs on the line belong to union workers.

One organization is proactively attempting to stave off any drastic actions by officials of the two merged corporations—Ahold and Delhaize—identified as the parent companies of Giant Food, Food Lion and Martin’s. The corporation is based in Brussels, Belgium.

According to officials with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400, the merger of the grocery chains was approved by shareholders last month. The local represents union workers in several states–including Maryland and Virginia—and the District of Columbia.

“Employees at eight area stores were informed that their stores may be sold as a result of the merger,” UFCW Local 400 officials reported. Two of the stores are located in Maryland—one in Accokeek and another in La Plata. The other six stores are in Virginia, including two each in Stafford and Fredericksburg.

The effort to halt the sales and resultant closures—called “Save My Store”—is gathering support with a series of rallies or town hall meetings, and through the circulation of a petition. A Local 400 spokesman, Jonathan Williams, reported over 1,200 have signed the petitions.

To date, “Save My Store” has held rallies in Fredericksburg, VA and Waldorf. Another gathering has been scheduled for Tuesday evening, April 19 at the Holiday Inn Express in La Plata. Organizers stated the rallies are designed “to bring together employees, customers, elected officials and other leaders to do whatever it takes to keep quality jobs and shopping options intact. Representatives of Ahold and Giant Food were also invited to attend, but the company has refused to respond.”

In a press release following last month’s merger vote, Delhaize Chairman Mats Janson said the linking of the chains “will create a stronger, more innovative food retail company with advanced scale and increased relevance in local communities.”
Janson stated the “merger process” is expected to occur this summer.

“We can’t let a corporate merger in Europe take away good jobs and quality shopping options here at home,” union officials stated.

The BayNet has reached out to both Local 400 and Delhaize for further comment but had not received a return calls at the time this story was filed.

Learn more about the petition at SaveMyStore.org

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com