Open Letter to Kroger: Lift the Ban on Black Lives Matter (Individual or organizational sign-on)
*By filling out this form, you or your organization agrees to be added as a signatory on this open letter to Kroger, Fred Meyer and QFC*
To: Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen
CC: Fred Meyer President Dennis Gibson; QFC President Chris Albi
We are writing in support of Fred Meyer and QFC workers who demand that you recognize their right to wear Black Lives Matter insignia at work, including buttons provided by UFCW 21.
Workers tell us they are wearing Black Lives Matter masks or buttons to call attention to the epidemic of police violence against Black and Brown people, and also to show solidarity against the racism they experience or observe while they are at work in your stores.
Motoko, a worker at the University Village QFC in Seattle, speaks starkly about how your Black Lives Matter ban isolates Black and Brown workers: “When you tell me to take the pin off, what it means is you don't care. My life doesn't matter to you, that my labor doesn't mean anything to you, that maybe there is no chance for me here... That you don't want anyone else to show that they care about my life either. That you want me to feel isolated. That is not a way to build diversity.”
This sentiment was echoed by Shawntia, a worker at Fred Meyer in Everett, who said: “…it’s almost as if they’re trying to take away the solidarity and make it seem like we’re still just fighting this fight by ourselves…”.
We are aware that Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen issued a public statement in June saying that, “We cannot remain silent. We must use our voice to express that we’re against racism and injustice toward the Black community.” These are great words, but now that workers are speaking up against racism with the support of their union, Mr. McMullen’s own management team is seeking to silence them.
Santana, a worker at Fred Meyer in Mill Creek, speaks powerfully about the disconnect between Kroger’s words and its actions: “They preach equality. They preach uplift every way and every day. They preach that they stand behind all. And when they told us to take off those buttons it really sent a message that they aren’t standing behind their word.”
Like Motoko, Shawntia, and Santana, many of us choose to speak out against racism and to wear Black Lives Matter buttons or masks. Your policy makes us feel unwelcome in your stores.
In order to address this situation, we are calling on you to:
- Live up to your corporate commitment to speak up against racism.
- Respect workers’ contractual and legal rights by lifting the ban on Black Lives Matter insignia.
- Meet with Black workers and community leaders to address racism in your stores.
Finally, we urge you to understand that this ban on Back Lives Matter puts QFC and Fred Meyer out of step with our region’s commitment to racial justice, workers’ rights, and corporate social responsibility.
We look forward to your written response.
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For more information contact: Marc Auerbach
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