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1/24 Demo in Support of Grocery Workers
Join us at a mass rally and protest at the Safeway on Market and Church from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 24, 2004.
LETTER FROM WALTER JOHNSON, S.F. LABOR COUNCIL
January 16, 2004
Dear Trade Unionists and Supporters of Labor Rights:
The strike/lockout fight of the 70,000 UFCW brothers and sisters in Southern California is at a turning point.
These workers have been on strike or locked-out at Safeway, Albertsons and Ralphs stores since October 11th. The grocery chains want to slash healthcare coverage for current workers and basically eliminate it for new workers. This strike is really important because if Safeway succeeds, it will send a signal to employers in Northern California and throughout the state to slash healthcare coverage. Every one of us could be next.
These grocery workers are not striking over $5 to $15 a week in health-insurance premiums, like the supermarkets claim. Current employees would have to pay $95 a week out of a $12/hour salary for healthcare by the 3rd year of the contract. Safeway is trying to basically eliminate healthcare for new hires -- going back on its commitment to provide good union jobs in our communities -- even though it continues to make huge profits.
If the grocery workers are going to win this fight, they need the help of every union member and every supporter of labor rights, from north to south, in escalating the fight for healthcare.
The San Francisco Labor Council is calling on all union members and supporters of labor rights in San Francisco and across the Bay Area to step up their support for these embattled workers.
This is what the Council is asking working people to do to support the strike:
1) Don't shop at Safeway! The S.F. labor movement has targeted Safeway for a boycott campaign. We need to hit this company in the only place it understands: its wallet.
2) Join us at a mass rally and protest at the Safeway on Market and Church from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 24, 2004. Our goal is to assemble upwards of 500 people. We want to have an idea of how many people can turn out for the rally. Please fill out the Coupon below to let us know you are coming -- and please ask your union or community group to make a pledge to bring people to the rally.
3) Join us on the picketlines at the three targeted Safeway stores in San Francisco: Mission & 30th St., Church & Market, and Potrero & 16th St. The Council is recommending the targeted times of 4 pm to 7 pm on weekdays and 1 pm to 5 pm on weekends -- but any time you can help is greatly needed. There are UFCW workers from Southern California on the picketlines during working hours every day of the week.
4) Help us with phonebanking to union members! We will be doing phonebanking for the January 24 mass rally and protest and for daily picketline support the evenings of Tuesday thru Thursday, Janaury 20-22. Come to the SF Labor Council from 6 pm to 8:30 pm. Our office is located at 1188 Franklin St. #203 (@ Geary).
5) Contribute to the Strike Fund through the UFCW State Council (checks should be sent to UFCW State Council Strike Fund, PO Box 5158, Buena Park, CA 90620).
Join this important fight. By supporting the striking and locked-out workers of UFCW, we are defending healthcare for everyone!
Walter L. Johnson
San Francisco Labor Council