Union Workers Protest Klein’s ShopRite in Downtown Bel Air

Passersby traveling North Main Street in Bel Air during the last few weeks may have noticed the team of sign-wavers lined up in front of Klein’s ShopRite.

This is not a holiday wecolming committee hired by the grocery store; they are not collecting donations for charity or selling Girl Scout cookies. The signs implore patrons not to buy their groceries at Klein’s ShopRite on behalf of a local union – protesting the fact that Klein’s ShopRite does not operate with a union contract.

Klein’s ShopRite media contact Michael I . Blum explained the situation on Sunday morning:

Since late November, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 27, has been holding a informational action at the Klein’s ShopRite grocery store on North Main Street in Bel Air. We understand that those taking part in the action are not employees of Klein’s ShopRite, but have been hired by the union for this.

Klein’s ShopRite respects the right of the UFCW to engage in an informational action on the public sidewalks around the store. We have no idea why they are there, except of course for the fact that Klein’s ShopRite does not have a union contract.

However, very few food purveyors or grocers in Bel Air or Harford County as a whole have union contracts — those food purveyors that do NOT have labor contracts include Food Lion, Weis, Redners, Target, Walmart, Mars, Wawa, Wegman’s, BJ’s and Royal Farm Stores — not to mention food sellers such as McDonald’s or Burger King. Since those stores greatly outnumber ShopRite in size and number, it is unclear why the UFCW chose a 49,000 sq. ft. store on Main Street to be the locus of its informational activity.

We are not aware of any pending claims by either current or past employees against the Company alleging workplace harassment, a failure to pay back wages, or unfair labor practices. We believe our wages to be very competitive with every other ShopRite supermarket, and every other supermarket chain. Klein’s ShopRite offers health insurance benefits with comprehensive coverage, at generally affordable rates, to both full- and qualified part-time employees. More than 50% of the Company’s employees are currently enrolled as full-time beneficiaries under the plan, which is a very high full-time coverage ratio for this industry.

Perhaps as a result of our good business practices, we have one of the lowest unemployment insurance assessments in Maryland for our industry. We have one of the lowest Workers Compensation Insurance models in all of ShopRite (almost 300 stores!), and indeed in the entire supermarket industry. We have a very good record of compliance with Federal and State regulations, including health and safety laws.

We are working very hard to remain competitive in today’s very challenging marketplace, to build on our recent successful transition to becoming a part of the Wakefern Food Corporation cooperative (ShopRite), and to protect our employees’ livelihoods and job security. We operate good, clean grocery stores, and we believe our low prices and the high quality of the products we sell speak for themselves.


  1. John says

    Seriously, Im glad to see that they are not unionized. I think I will now go to this store. Unions are part of the problem with industy in the US, not the solution. Thease people should really go F-off

    • Kathy says

      I agree! If somehow the union wins and Shopright goes union, I will take my business to employee owned Redner’s. I currently take all my business to Klein’s and have ever since “My” Giant went union years ago. Nothing against the workers-but attitudes change once a service store goes union-there is no room for employer kindesses to employees, therefore, employee attitudes change and all the customer hears is griping and complaints. I do not need that!

    • Gary says

      I hope Kleins continues to keep the Crimminal,Socialist,Extortionist,Communist and Anti-American labor unions OUT of thier grocery stores.These Crimminals are the number one cause of the problems in America today.I will not shop at Kleins If the employees ever vote to unionize.If they want to get greedy I will do my part to see that they no longer have a job by sending the company that THEY have destroyed into bankrupcy.Keep up the good work Kleins and I will continue to be a customer.Give in to the union and your toast


  2. Harfordmom says

    unions ?!?!?! give me a break – years ago they were good but like so many “good intentions” they got corrupt with leaders and politics which went on for decades. They got screwed themselves. They destroyed every industry they’ve touched and why their time died decades ago. We’d like to keeps jobs here thank you Kleins/shoprite and all stores mentioned are doing just fine without them. Go unionize Mexico.

  3. belairfed says

    Kleins is expensive enough on some items. What would unions do except drive up the prices more. What really is telling about this – what kind of operation (talking the union now) can pay unemployed people to stand around for 8 hours and do nothing except hold a sign.

    I have no problem driving by this “information” line. Let Giant and Safeway keep their high prices and the unions.

  4. Rob in Bel Air says

    I am sure there are plenty of unemployed people in Harford County who would love to work at Kleins and/or a non-union job. I hope the people working at Kleins realize how fortunate they are to have a job and will ignore this union’s attempt to infest.

    For those who will argue that unions protect employees, I don’t disagree but it seems to have gone to the extremes. Look at how the unions destroyed the car industry in the US and how it is virtually impossible to fire incompetent teachers (due to the teachers unions).

    Let those who support unions, keep paying your dues so the “high ups” (the leaders) in the unions can live lavishly, with high salaries, while they struggle to pay their bills. Moreover, keep drinking that Obama kool-aid; I’m sure much of the money you are paying in dues will go to reelect Obama to the White House. By the way, how is that hope and change working out for you? I’m sure you enjoy watching the union bosses attending lavish White House parties . . . What a shame (and sham).

  5. pizzle says

    On one end you have the unions, which have totally destroyed the manufacturing sector of our economy by pricing us out of manufacturing most everything in this country. On the other side you have the totally corrupt and greedy execs that will sell their own mother in order to improve the bottom line. Somewhere in the middle is me….just some guy that wants to go to the grocery store to buy my bread and milk, that needs to pass by these losers who feel the need to “inform”. If unions are so great, then why are they earning their living by standing out on the sidewalk holding signs telling me about how great the union is?

  6. MrMark says

    IMHO unions are a significant contributing factor in this economic “depression” we have found ourselves in. Ridiculously high wages and perks for union employees are why so much manufacturing has been “outsourced” to foreign countries. It’s less expensive for companies to ship work halfway around the friggin’ world and then ship back the finished product than it is to make it here at home and employ Americans!!! I mean, come on! How hard is it, really, to stick that widget into its proper place and send it on to the next step in the manufacturing process? Sure ain’t worth $20.00 an hour plus insurance plus 3 or 4 weeks paid vacation plus paid holidays!!! Get real!

    • I Left says

      Do you seriously believe this? The jobs being outsourced are being outsourced to countries where they can pay employees a dollar an hour. Union or no union, management was always going to move those jobs overseas. It’s not a case where foreign workers are being paid less than unionized workers. It’s a case where foreign workers are being paid less than half the minimum wage.

      I have things that I like and dislike about unions. The outsourcing of jobs is completely unrelated however.

      • Phil Dirt says

        If the average wage in a foreign country is 75 cents an hour, and an American company sets up shop and pays a dollar an hour, is that exploitation?

        The problem is that we need to set up incentives for companies to stay in the US, such as slashing corporate taxes for companies who run, open or expand domestic manufacturing facilities and keep jobs here. The reduced income to the government from lower corporate taxes will be more than offset by the higher number of workers paying income tax, getting off of unemployment, spending their wages to support other businesses who can then hire more workers, who will pay taxes and have money to spend… and it goes on and on.

    • says

      As do many union members of both public and private organizations. While some union members would only support other union retailers, most shop for the best deal. They are, after all, not stupid.

  7. RinoHunter says

    David Craig supported the Harford County Deputies Union. David Craig allowed record increases in Deputies Union salary and benefits and leave time in return for Deputies Support, i.e votes.

    More proof that David Craig is a big government tax and spend liberal.

    • Rob in Bel Air says

      Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. Regardless of what Craig does, it’s better than a tax and spend liberal democrat. Tax and spend liberal democrats are more dangerous – examples – Martin O’Malley, Mike Miller, Michael Bush. In O’malley’s first year in office he raised a billion + in taxes on the citizens of this state.

      Oh, stupid me to think that Maryland voters would remember that and vote the bums out. Maybe it’s not me who is stupid but maybe it’s the more than half of the voters in Maryland who are stupid (to put the clowns back in).

      • says

        They did not remember what Rinohunter is talking about, and returned Sheriff Bane to office. Liberal Democrat…Jesse Bane is certainly in that category.

      • RinoHunter says


        I agree that OMalley, Miller, and Bush are bloated scum. However, people like Davis Craig are just as dangerous. He pretends to be a fiscal conservative and has some people “fooled”. Craig and his buddies on the Council would still be raising our property taxes 9% a year if they could.

      • Kathy says

        I guess that is because the majority of Maryland voters vote: from the grave; after recieving a handout; even though they can not read; without knowing for whom they are voting; even though they have never worked and still receive tax refunds; even though they are not citizens, etc.

        By the way, as long as you know a name and address of anyone, you are free to beat them to the polls and vote under their name. Election Judges may not ask for proof of ID. But, oh my, I digress.

  8. None says

    I think journalism is supposed to require a little more than reprinting the opinion or one side word for word. Perhaps you should investigate the truth of store’s claims. Perhaps you should contact the union for its position. This is just silly.

  9. Backtothegarden says

    I think the union’s position is quite clear. It was shoprite that needed the opportunity to respond to the protestors. I only wish more people could read brian’s article, so they can hear both sides.

    I will be sure to send business shoprite’s way to show my support. The union’s arrogance needs to be met with action on some level, and that’s the best way I can think of. Union presence = higher prices.