Greenbelt, MD: Yesterday, hundreds of workers from across the D.C. Metro region rallied at the Giant Food grocery store at the Beltway Shopping Plaza here to launch the campaign for Justice at Giant.
The work would move from a Giant warehouse in Maryland to a non-union C&S Wholesale Grocers location in Pennsylvania.
Workers employed by Giant Food, represented by Teamsters Local Unions 730, 639 and 922 in the D.C. area and by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, held signs that read, "Giant Workers United: We Are Linking Up." Balloons were handed out to customers' children that read, "Giant: Keep Good Jobs in Our Community."
Maryland State Commissioner of Labor Ron DeJulius addressed the crowd and spoke about the importance of keeping these good, middle-class jobs in Maryland and the greater D.C. metro region.
"I, Governor O'Malley and the Lieutenant Governor are 100 percent with you," DeJulius said. "We will do whatever it takes to save your jobs."
D.C. hip-hop star Head-Roc pumped up the rally attendees with a new song specially written for the occasion, titled "Giant Ain't The 'G' They Used to Be," which can be heard here.
"The Giant of today is not the locally-owned, community-friendly Giant of the past," said Ritchie Brooks, President of Teamsters Local Union 730, which represents Giant warehouse workers. "We know Giant and Royal Ahold are planning to outsource these jobs to a non-union out-of-state supplier, C&S Grocers. They're bringing in C&S to do their dirty work."
Garry Willett, a 25-year worker at the Giant warehouse, told the crowd that, "It is hurtful and disrespectful that Giant is making millions off of its local customers, and then turns around and tries to ship good jobs out of this community."
Workers from Woodbridge, NJ, and Buffalo, NY, who have already seen their jobs outsourced by C&S Grocers, also attended the rally. Other speakers at the rally included representatives from Teamsters Local Union 264 in Buffalo, NY, UFCW Local 400, D.C. Jobs with Justice and Empower DC.
Al Rispoli, president of Teamsters Local 863 in Woodbridge, NJ, attended the rally to lend his support.
"This would not be the first time C&S has destroyed middle class jobs. In February, C&S closed a distribution center in Woodbridge that supplied A&P supermarkets, costing an estimated loss of over 2,000 jobs," Rispoli said, and then addressed the Giant workers directly. "We are a family. We are still fighting, and we will stand by you."