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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Labor & Workers
Grocery Store Workers Take the Struggle to CEO's Home
Southern California striking grocery store workers caravan to home of Safeway's CEO Steve Burd in Alamo.
With police helicopters hovering overhead 250 striking Southern California grocery store workers and their families marched on the luxurious gated Alamo home of Safeway CEO Steve Burd. The strike by 70,000 Vons, Ralph’s and Albertson workers for affordable healthcare is now past its 100th day. If the giant food chains gets it way health costs for these workers will rise 50% and put it out of reach for many who make an average of $20,000 a year. The contract for Northern California grocery store workers expires this summer and the struggle being waged in the South will have a big impact on their contract as well as the entire labor movement.
The Pilgrimage for Justice had brought the strikers from Southern California in buses and vans to deliver over 10,000 postcards to Burd’s house urging him to negotiate in good faith. Progressive clergy from throughout California who appealed to his conscience organized the march. Burd, allegedly a deeply religious individual, donated $80,000 to save the lives of puppies in animal shelters last year. At the front of the march, that went from the Alamo Safeway to Burd’s home was longtime Civil Rights minister Rev. James Lawson and Rev. William Jarvis Johnson of Pasadena.
Art Pulaski, executive secretary – treasurer of the California Labor Federation criticized police treatment of the Pilgrimage by accusing the Homeland Security section of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department of tailing the vehicles of the strikers ever since they arrived in Northern California. Pulaski said it was a waste of money to somehow link workers striking for health care with terrorist activity.