October 29, 2010
When: Wednesday Oct. 27th 1:30 p.m.
Where: March begins at 111 Zeta Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15238
After several months of feeling intimidated and threatened by managers, Giant Eagle employees have had enough. Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 23, joined by a number of community organizations, will march on the corporate headquarters, to deliver support post cards signed by fellow employees at 36 stores, to say enough is enough.
“”We have the right to talk about our union, with our co-workers, with other Giant Eagle employees, with anyone we want to. This is America and we don’t check our free speech rights at the door when we take a job with Giant Eagle” said Deborah Wieloch, an employee at the Shady Side Market District Store.
Weiloch was arrested in September when she, on her day off work, went to the Waterfront Giant Eagle to talk to employees on break about their contract and other union issues. UFCW Local 23 filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board over the incident.
Weiloch’s arrest came as part of what employees see as a wave of anti-unionism on the part of Giant Eagle.
“We’ve been told we can’t wear buttons, we’ve been told not to talk about our union, we’ve been threatened with arrest or worse, being fired,” explained Jim D’Alessandro. “It isn’t right. They are infringing on our right to free speech and violating our nation’s laws that ensure we have a right to organize and be organized. Our contract even gives us the right to talk about our union during work.”
The members of UFCW got tired of harassment from management and started a postcard campaign to tell Giant Eagle they are tired of it.
While corporate Giant Eagle has pressured workers to remain silent and tried to keep their actions out of the press, workers have received tremendous support from allies and the public.
Along with a delegation of several dozen UFCW Local 23 members taking the cards to the corporate headquarters, community groups will be on hand to show support, including ACTION United, NAACP, Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network, Pittsburgh UNITED, and others. A number of UFCW Local 23 members will be dressed as the Founding Fathers, complete with wigs and costumes, to reinforce the message that free speech rights are guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.