Employees at the Shoppers location in Franconia, Virginia, found out their store is next on the list to close.
United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400, which represents Shoppers workers, said it is extremely disappointed to learn about the closing. Initially, they were told that the Franconia store would be renovated, but it will close by Feb. 16, and all employees will be laid off. About 50 employees work at the store.
The Franconia location is the sixth closure announced, including stores in Manassas, Alexandria and Kensington. Thirteen locations have been sold. Shoppers is owned by United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI).
Shoppers Stores to Be Sold and Closed
United Natural Foods, Incorporated (UNFI) will sell 13 and close 4 Shoppers and Food & Pharmacy stores.
Credit: Anisa Holmes/NBC Washington
The union will host a job fair Saturday for all Shoppers workers affected by the store closures from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at UFCW Local 400 Headquarters, 8400 Corporate Drive, Suite 200, Landover, Maryland.
The president of the union released the following statement:
“For months, we have demanded that this company show our union and our members some basic respect. Employees who have dedicated their careers to Shoppers should not be left to wonder where their next paycheck will come from. But UNFI seems determined to leave them in the dark for as long as possible.
“UNFI has claimed it wishes to “thoughtfully” divest from its retail operations, but it has clearly given no thought to the many store associates who have spent their careers making Shoppers a success. This is not how a responsible employer exits our community.
“While negotiations continue over severance and other benefits for workers impacted by store closures, our union has joined with community partners to host a Resource Fair for all affected workers on Saturday, January 11. We will do everything we can to ensure our members are not left out in the cold.
“As we have stated before, we intend to do everything in our power to hold UNFI accountable under the law and under our union contract. We will continue to make it clear that we expect our members to be taken care of in the event of their store closing, including:
- Significant severance pay
- Continuing healthcare coverage after a store closure
- Providing job search assistance and retraining
- Following our current collective bargaining agreement in any purchase agreements
“There is no reason UNFI cannot agree to these terms and assure us that every Shoppers associate is treated with dignity and respect.”