KING CITY — The union leadership of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 5 in Salinas is challenging the approval of a new discount grocery store for King City.
King City Council recently approved plans to bring a Grocery Outlet supermarket to the community last April after the developer “completed all appropriate permitting and environmental review processes,” according to City Manager Steve Adams. in a July 7 press release.
Grocery Outlet regularly sells groceries and branded fresh produce at 40% to 70% less than conventional grocery stores. The new 18,187-square-foot store, set to be built on Broadway Street on empty land next to Denny’s, would also provide jobs, economic development and cost-cutting options to local residents and community members. near.
“This is all on hold now as a lawsuit has been filed challenging the approval,” Adams said.
A UFCW Local 5 member, who lives in Salinas, appealed the City of King’s Planning Commission’s initial approval. The city council later rejected the appeal and approved the project. The union’s lawyers then filed a notice of intention to take legal action to stop the project.
An open letter dated July 6 and signed by the five members of the city council calls the lawsuit “misguided” and that it “hurts working families” in the community.
“It is estimated that one in 6 people were already living below the poverty line in King City in 2020 – and that was before costs skyrocketed across the country,” the letter reads. “With only one grocery store currently in town, some locals travel nearly an hour to Paso Robles or Salinas to pick up groceries at lower prices.”
Traveling, however, is no longer an option for some residents due to the cost of gas soaring to over $6 a gallon and inflation to 8.6%, its highest level in 40 years. Many families struggle to make ends meet in the small, underserved farming community, home to a large minority population.
“It shouldn’t be hard to get food on the table,” Mayor Mike LeBarre said. “It is extremely disappointing that the outside leadership of a union claiming to represent the interests of working families is supporting legal action against the city to stop a project that would directly benefit working families in King City.”
Currently, there is only one other full-service grocery store in town – Safeway, whose workers are represented by UFCW Local 5. But, according to Adams, local union members were not allowed to vote on the issue before the litigation was filed.
“Attracting stores and more shopping opportunities was identified as a top priority in a recent citywide community survey,” Adams said. “If we had a say in this lawsuit, we are confident that local union members would not want their union dues to interfere with the City’s efforts to meet what we know to be important community needs.
Adams said the city is asking the community and local members to urge UFCW Local 5 to stop supporting litigation and allow local union members to vote on such issues in the future before a dispute is filed in their community.
Comments on the lawsuit can be directed to the UFCW Local 5 office in Salinas c/o the office manager at 831-208-5324 or [email protected].