In a letter to Robert Miller, the CEO of Albertsons Companies, Inc., which recently acquired Safeway, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa called on the company to enact a moratorium on the closure. “I believe there are options that have not yet been explored,” Hoffa said. “I am asking you to enact a 180-day moratorium on the closure while your staff, Maryland and Prince George’s County public officials and Teamsters-appointed experts meet to discuss alternatives, with the goal of saving good Maryland jobs.”
“I’m only about a year away from retirement, and now Safeway’s going to put me and my kids out on the street,” said Larry Hudson, a 29-year grocery department employee in Safeway’s Upper Marlboro facility. “I don’t know why Safeway didn’t discuss it with us—we are willing to sit down and negotiate with them. We’re in a perfect location right now—it doesn’t make sense for Safeway to move these jobs up to Pennsylvania so that they can drive for hours to bring the groceries back down to Maryland and Virginia stores.”
Safeway built the $91 million state-of-the-art Upper Marlboro distribution center in 1998, after receiving $2 million from Maryland taxpayers. Safeway has also received more than $7 million in concessions from these distribution center employees over the past 15 years in order to defray costs. Safeway was acquired this year by Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., which merged Albertsons and Safeway.