The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Layoffs Threaten Maryland Safeway Warehouse Workers

Oct 26, 2015

Seven hundred unionized and 100 non-union warehouse workers in Landover and Upper Marlboro, Maryland were told they will be laid off starting in December. Safeway supermarket warehouse contractor C&S plans to move operations to lower-pay and non-union sites in Pennsylvania and northeastern Maryland.

C&S first threatened to move in the 1990s. At that time, the union agreed to more than seven million dollars annually in cost savings for the company, including a five-year wage freeze, a lower starting wage, Sunday hours, and on-call workers. But Safeway and C&S have now decided they want more.

C&S has become the country’s biggest warehouse operator as supermarket chains have outsourced that work. And C&S’s practice is to cut pay, consolidate jobs and lay off workers, and end union contracts. C&S has cut 6,700 union warehouse jobs in the last 20 years, including closing the Giant warehouse in 2012. Giant is another supermarket chain in Maryland.

Safeway is owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management – and Cerberus’ most important product is profit.