Teamster workers call for improved COVID-19 safety at two Albertsons distribution centers

Protests at facilities in Arizona and Texas claim current measures come up short


Russell Redman, Supermarket News

Jan 06, 2021


About 800 Teamsters members held protests this week at Albertsons Cos. distribution centers in Tolleson, Ariz., and Roanoke, Texas, claiming that COVID-19 safety measures at the facilities fall short.


The drivers and warehouse workers at the two DCs — which serve more than 250 supermarkets in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Texas — allege that Albertsons isn’t fully complying with coronavirus protection guidelines and has failed to provide them with the company’s COVID-19 safety plan for the facilities, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said. The union described the Jan. 4 protests as “just practicing picketing.”


Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons emphasized its COVID-19 safety efforts across all of its locations and said it would work with the union to address member concerns.


“While we were surprised at the allegations given our focus on and diligence toward employee safety across all of our facilities, we will continue to bargain in good faith, with the goal of working toward a resolution that benefits our associates and our company,” Albertsons said in an email statement.


At the Albertsons Southwest DC in Tolleson, Teamsters Local 104 drivers and warehouse workers contend that social distancing in the facility is inadequate and the retailer isn’t providing sufficient quarantine and emergency sick-leave pay to workers required to isolate due to COVID-19. The DC serves over 175 stores, including Safeway in Arizona and New Mexico; Vons in Las Vegas; and Albertsons in Arizona, New Mexico, southern Utah and El Paso, Texas.


“Since the pandemic began, our brave members have worked up to 14 hours a day, six days a week, to keep grocery stores stocked and provide food to our communities,” according to Russell Medigovich, business agent for Teamsters Local 104...