Apr 18, 2012

VA Supermarket Workers Take Struggle for Union to Amsterdam

Three Martin’s and Giant Food workers from Virginia went to Amsterdam yesterday to share their stories at the Dutch company’s annual general meeting . They alerted shareholders about how Ahold’s Martin’s operation in the U.S. is failing to live up to the professed high standards of its Dutch parent company in comparison to other company grocery stores operating in the Netherlands and the United States.

Shaquana Battle (Martin’s), Tracey Barrentine (Martin’s),
Michele Hepner (Giant-Landover) standing in front
of Dutch union FNV Bondgenoten.

“I simply want the same rights that other Ahold workers have, whether they live 40 miles away in Virginia or 4,000 miles away in the Netherlands,” said Tracey Barrentine, a Martin’s worker from Stephens City, Va. who addressed the shareholders. “I want to be able to choose freely and fairly whether I want a union, without any intimidation or threat of reprisals from my employer.”

Approximately 70,000 Ahold workers in the United States— about 65 percent of the company’s U.S. workforce—have already joined the UFCW. But for 30,000 workers under the company’s Martin’s/ Giant Carlisle banner, the company is actively campaigning to prevent workers from exercising the same fundamental rights that many of their U.S. and Dutch counterparts enjoy.

“It does not make sense and seems unfair that we all work for the same company but some employees do not have the same rights as other employees,” said Stafford, Va., resident Michele Hepner, a member of UFCW Local 400 who has worked at one of Ahold’s unionized stores for the past 37 years. “Ahold must treat all its workers fairly, and that is the message I [shared] with the shareholders at the meeting.”

Stay tuned to the UFCW blog for more updates about Matrin's workers' campaign to get on equal footing with their counterparts in the rest of the U.S. and abroad.

1 comment:


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