Shoppers Union Workers Protest Amid Future Employment Concerns - NBC4 Washington

Shoppers Union Workers Protest Amid Future Employment Concerns

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    Shoppers Union Workers Protest Amid Employment Uncertainty

    Shoppers Food Warehouse union workers share their concerns at local demonstrations as the chain's fate remains uncertain. News4's Justin Finch has the story. (Published Monday, June 24, 2019)

    Shoppers Food Warehouse union workers protested Monday urging the company for transparency as the company plans to shut down several stores.

    The demonstration was the first in a series of actions planned throughout the week by Shoppers employees to put pressure on their parent company, United Natural Foods, or UNFI, and draw attention to their concerns regarding employment. 

    "I've been with the company 32 years and not getting an answer from UNFI, I think is terrible," said Kevin Freeman, a Shoppers employee and member of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400. "We built this company. For us to be treated this way is unheard of."  

    It's been months since the grocery store announced plans to sell all of the store's locations by March 2020, but employees said they still don't know if or when they could become unemployed in the process. 

    "They haven't told us anything, we're just reading up on whatever the website says," said Nikolai Fishburn, an employee who's worked at the store for 15 years.

    Members of the United Food & Commercial Workers union began protests Monday, but the union said it hasn't heard of any upcoming layoffs

    So far, pharmacies in all Shoppers Food Warehouses have closed, and some stores have converted to Giant grocery stores. 

    The Shoppers Food Warehouse in Hyattsville, Maryland, will close Monday, but it's still unclear what will happen to the 34 stores in the D.C. area. Employment uncertainty led employees like Fishburn to start looking for other jobs.  

    "I've saved enough money to actually prepare for like a month to find a job," Fishburn said. 

    Although he started looking for a job, Fishburn said he still hasn't found employment.