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Giant and Safeway workers have been in negotiations with management for five months over a new union contract. Now, more than 25,000 workers in the DMV area are weighing whether to go on strike after talks around wages, health care, and retirement benefits hit a standstill.  

Workers have plans to announce a date to take a strike vote Wednesday morning. UFCW Local 400, a union group representing area grocery workers, tells WAMU they are at odds with management over wage freezes. Specifically, the companies are demanding a three-year wage freeze on new hires in D.C. and Maryland. 

“If you … pay union dues and you make minimum wage, you actually earn less than at any other job,” says Jonathan Williams, with UFCW Local 400. 

Management is also proposing to cap the number of hours for part-time workers, rendering them ineligible for some benefits. 

“After a long weekend of negotiations with Giant Food, we have made some progress. We still have more work to do to meet our goals of wages we can live on, schedules we can depend on, healthcare we can afford, and a retirement we can count on,” Local 400 says in a press statement. “However, we are not scheduled to meet with Safeway again until February 24 and very little progress was made during our last meeting with them on February 13. We are still far apart from Safeway on all of our key issues.” 

In 2017, the union nearly went on strike, with over 1,000 workers signing a petition on the first day of circulation. But management ultimately settled. Local 400 got its “groove back” in 2012 after decades of bargaining away wages and benefits, per the union’s mobilization director Alan Hanson.—Amanda Michelle Gomez(tips? Email agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)  


CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:

  • Elderly woman dies after she’s rescued from a fire in her Northeast apartment. [WTOP]

  • Here’s how the oldest active lawsuit against the D.C. government reformed the juvenile detention system. [Post]

  • Governor Ralph Northam’s assault weapons bill dies in the Virginia Senate, with help from Democrats. [NPR

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • How a street that doesn’t exist almost thwarted a huge development on Wisconsin Avenue NW. [WAMU]

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser’s presidential pick will be on the debate stage tomorrow. [Politico]

  • ICYMI: An abrupt end to Bowser’s interview with the New Yorker. [New Yorker]

  • New NFL stadium is likely to be built where the old one is, not on the old RFK site in D.C. [Post]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • D.C. now has a bar inspired by J. Edgar Hoover’s rumored lover. [Washingtonian]

  • Bars feel the effects of dry January on their bottom lines. [Eater]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The National Building Museum laid off seven staff members across different departments. [DCist]

  • What’s up with the Wammies? [Washingtonian]

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz examines Exquisite Agony, his latest show, playing at GALA Hispanic Theatre. [DC Metro Theater Arts]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Traditionally, the Wizards have struggled to push their players onto the national stage. That issue doesn’t exist with star rookie Rui Hachimura. [WCP]

  • WNBA Finals MVP Emma Meesseman is staying with the Mystics. [WNBA.com]

  • Dāvis Bertāns finished third in the NBA three-point contest. [Bullets Forever]

  • St. John’s College High School junior Azzi Fudd scored 43 points against Bishop O’Connell High School to join the 2,000-point club. [Overtime]

  • Ron Rivera explained his reasoning for cutting Josh Norman as wanting the team to get younger. [NBC Sports Washington]

  • D.C. United’s Paul Arriola injured his right ACL in a preseason exhibition on Saturday and will need months to recover. [SI]

  • Washington Spirit players Rose Lavelle, Andi Sullivan, and Jordan DiBiasi have been added to the 26-player training camp roster for the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. [USSoccer.com]

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full To Do This Week newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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