YUMA, Ariz., April 5 LAWFUEL – Law News Daily — A newspaper ad critical of Bashas’ owned Food City was censored out of the weekend editions of the Yuma Daily Sun after being printed in Friday’s paper. UFCW Local 99 suspects Bashas’ owned Food City pressured the newspaper to pull the critical ad.
“We believe that this is yet another example of the Bashas’ corporation heavyhanded tactics trying to silence their workers,” said Jim McLaughlin, President of UFCW Local 99. “We have no doubt that Bashas’ spends a
significant amount of money advertising their Food City brand in the Sun,
and it is not hard for me to believe that this revenue stream weighed
heavily on the paper’s decision.”
The ad was scheduled to appear in the newspaper on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. However, the union received a voicemail message from the
newspaper’s advertising department late Friday that the ad would not be
allowed to appear in the weekend papers. In a follow up conversation on
Monday morning, Sun Advertising Director Lisa Miller cited editorial
discretion in the decision to pull the ad.
“The Yuma Daily Sun is a solid newspaper with a reputation for
journalistic integrity. We can only imagine the amount of pressure that the Bashas’ corporation might have aimed at the newspaper to censor a truthful and honest ad. It is sad to think that an award-winning newspaper would succumb to this type of corporate pressure,” said Jim McLaughlin, President of UFCW Local 99.
The ad was centered on Cesar Chavez and his fight for worker rights.
The ad featured three current Food City employees who wanted to be heard.
“We simply want to be treated with the dignity and respect we deserve. We
are just a group of workers wanting to be heard,” said Nancy Mejias, a Food City cashier of 18 years.
The ad titled “Shame on you Food City” brought to light Food City’s
attempts to ride the coat tails of Cesar Chavez’s legacy, while ignoring
its own workers in the process. “Cesar Chavez stood for the working people.
The ad represented our beliefs, we simply want dignity and respect,” said
Despite the censorship of the ad, UFCW Local 99 will continue to work
with employees to ensure that their rights are protected. “This incident
has pealed one more layer off Bashas’ carefully crafted public image. If
Bashas’ management used heavy handed pressure tactics against a major daily newspaper just imagine what they might do to individual employees,” said McLaughlin.
McLaughlin predicts that this incident will just backfire on Bashas’.
“This just strengthens the determination of people who work at Bashas’
owned stores,” said McLaughlin. “Those employees deserve to be treated
fairly and with respect. And while Bashas’ might have censored their voices this time, those voices and many, many others will be coming back stronger than ever,” said McLaughlin.
More information is available at http://www.foodcitytruthwatch.com.
UFCW Local 99 is Arizona’s largest private sector labor union,
representing more than 17,000 workers in Fry’s and Safeway grocery stores
and a number of other industries.