Striking Southern California grocery workers who set up picket lines at Bay Area grocers last week in solidarity with their Southern California companions returned in force Saturday with over 1,000 supporters to rally outside the Safeway at 51st and Broadway.
The workers, all members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, were joined by community supporters and members from almost every union in the Bay on their march from the Rockridge BART back to the store in north Oakland.
Carrying signs and an effigy of Safeway CEO Steve Burd, and with the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Worker Union drill team leading the way, the group stood outside the store demanding that the grocery industry stop what they say is a full scale attack on the health plans of over 70,000 workers.
Protesters, who successfully blocked the entrance to the store while they rallied, were joined by elected officials including California senate majority leader Don Perata, Assemblywoman Wilma Chan, and Oakland City Council members Ignacio De La Fuente and Jane Brunner.
Workers say they will walk the Northern California picket lines until the fight in Southern California is over, and they expect to be marching picket lines here again this summer when local grocery contracts expire.