Thursday, October 18, 2007


UFCW 8-Golden State President Jacques Loveall Hails Galt’s Passage of ‘Big Box’ Ordinance, Wal-Mart’s Bid to Build a Supercenter Faces More Obstacles

Galt, Calif. (Oct. 18, 2007) — Jacques Loveall, president of UFCW 8-Golden State, said that Tuesday’s vote by Galt’s city council was an important step toward blocking construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter in the community.

The council voted 4-1 to ban construction of “big box” stores larger than 140,000 square feet that sell large quantities of non-taxable goods like groceries. It also ordered Wal-Mart to acquire a conditional-use permit from the city.

“We would have preferred that the council approved the Planning Commission’s recommendations, which would have set the limit at 120,000 square feet,” Loveall said. “But the new ordinance puts the city’s concerns about Wal-Mart on record.”

Wal-Mart says it wants to build a 132,000-square-foot Supercenter, selling groceries as well as other items, in Galt. However, before it can obtain its conditional-use permit the company must demonstrate that the project will not aggravate traffic, pollution, crime and other problems in the city.

Galt has joined a long list of California communities that have put limits on Wal-Mart and other large-scale retailers. In August, Stockton’s city council voted to stop construction of more Supercenters.

The growing trend of resistance to big box stores began in Sacramento and the Southern California city of Inglewood. Soon, other California communities such as Hercules, Elk Grove and Northridge joined in. Now, anti-big box battles are raging in Ontario, Porterville, Rosemead, Fortuna, Ripon, Antioch, Oakland, Tujunga and the Lugonia District of Redlands.

UFCW 8-Golden State is on the front lines of the big box fight, working with community groups to stop the onslaught of massive chain stores that drive local businesses into bankruptcy and provide sub-par wages and benefits to employees.

“Communities now understand that these anti-Union companies are economic liabilities,” Loveall said. “They drive down wages and cost more in city services than they generate in revenue.”

In the face of rising opposition in communities like Stockton and Galt, Wal-Mart has been forced to severely cut back its plans to open Supercenters in California.

UFCW 8-Golden State represents some 30,000 members who work in stores, plants and offices from the California-Oregon border in the north to Fresno County in the south.