A half dozen men from Carpenters Local Union 152
picketed outside the Safeway
at Fourth and King Friday morning. It seems they didn't make much of a splash. For one, they held rather vague signs about what the mammoth grocers' alleged sins were. And, unless you were on foot -- which not too many people in this neighborhood are -- you could be forgiven for missing the protest altogether:The workers nonsensically stood behind a phalanx of construction workers chiseling through the King Street asphalt, effectively shielding their message from the passing cars.
It turns out the Martinez-based union is protesting what happened during the carpenters' last
protest of a Safeway, said union spokesman Paul Cohen. Workers had been picketing a San Jose store at 4950 Almaden Expressway, protesting the actions of yet another Safeway store in Contra Costa county -- which purportedly hired a contractor who wasn't paying standard wages. An employee of the San Jose store confronted the workers while holding a knife, and then slashed through one of the worker's banners, Cohen says.
Instead of quelling the protest, the Safeway Slasher just created grounds for a new one. The union has lodged a complaint against Safeway with the National Labor Relations Board for intimidating employees while they assert their rights, Cohen says.
"Safeway should know better, and their employees should know better," he
said. He wouldn't says exactly where or when the employees would picket next so as to not tip the store off.
Let's just hope next time the protest
is a bit more visible.