The Stand

Grocery workers, UFCW 21 call on Kroger to end BLM ban

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Sign petition urging Fred Meyer, QFC to allow Black Lives Matter buttons at work

 

The following is from UFCW 21:

SEATTLE (Sept. 23, 2020) — Puget Sound-area retail and grocery store workers, with the full backing of their union (UFCW 21), launched a campaign on Tuesday calling on Kroger-owned Fred Meyer and QFC to reverse the companies’ ban on employees wearing Black Lives Matter buttons at work.

Over recent weeks, management has begun ordering workers to remove “Black Lives Matter” buttons distributed by the UFCW 21. UFCW 21, the union that represents more than 13,000 workers at Puget Sound-area Fred Meyer and QFC stores, says the ban violates workers’ rights under the companies’ union contracts and federal labor law.

Tuesday morning, after weeks of attempts to resolve the problem internally, UFCW 21 filed formal grievances with the companies, as well as an unfair labor practice charge under federal labor law.

TAKE A STAND — UFCW 21 and community leaders are also calling on supporters to sign an online petition to the companies.

 

Everett Fred Meyer worker Shawntia Cunningham, who is Black, explained why she is fighting for her right to wear the button: “I get pulled over by cops for having a nice car to the point that my husband, who is white, has to drive so I can just feel safe. I have been called the ‘N’ word by customers at my store a few times. I need this company to respect us as human beings and to respect our rights as workers. I need Fred Meyer and QFC and all Kroger to see that Black lives really do matter.”

UFCW 21 President Faye Guenther said: “Systemic racism is real and it negatively impacts thousands of our members on the job and in the community. We are proud of our members who are standing up to say ‘Black Lives Matter’ and we will support their right to do so with every tool available to us.”

The campaign is drawing support from area labor and civil rights leaders. Gabriel Prawl, Sr., A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) Seattle Chapter President, today called on Fred Meyer and QFC to reconsider the ban on Black Lives Matter and meet with Black workers and community leaders to address “ongoing racist issues in the retail environment.”

April Sims, Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO offered full support: “Solidarity among working people is the foundation of the labor movement, and these workers are living that commitment by wearing Black Lives Matter buttons. These brave workers are backed by the 550,000-person strong labor movement of Washington state, and we call on these companies to reverse their decision to prioritize the feelings of racists over the humanity of their Black and Brown employees and customers.”

Short URL: https://www.thestand.org/?p=91921

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