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CEO's Actions Breed Skepticism

October 26, 2003

"Safeway Chief at Center of Standoff" (Oct. 19) galvanized my support of the United Food and Commercial Workers' strike against the supermarket chains.

I was a retail clerk: I pushed carts in the rain, was a cashier who worked by the automatic doors that allowed cold air to keep my working conditions at a brisk 60 degrees, worked many holidays and avoided answering my phone on days off for fear of being called in to work because management didn't adequately staff for the day. (If you decline work when they call, your scheduled hours are reduced the next week.)

The same job, however, provided a reasonable wage and enabled me to attend college. Thanks to that, today I can provide myself a decent standard of living, and shop at Vons.

Safeway Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Steven A. Burd wasted millions on failed acquisitions. Rather than accept responsibility for his bad investment decisions, Burd is trying to punish UFCW workers and have them foot the bill.

He calls it an investment in the future; I see it as an investment in greed and a lack of conscience.

Kathleen DeVine

Costa Mesa


Does anyone else see anything wrong with the picture when Burd is paid a salary of $1 million a year to manage a grocery conglomerate that has been losing money?

I refuse to cross the picket lines. I am protesting something even bigger than cuts in employee health benefits. I am protesting corporate executives' being paid outrageous salaries when demanding serious cuts from their employees.

Karen Nyhlen

Los Angeles


So we have another example of a manager who never has worked in the trenches of the business he is running.

The corporate elite has become the new aristocracy of America, with the attendant "Let them eat cake" attitude toward the peons who do the actual work that creates all this wealth.

Is this guy Burd going to give up his health benefits and his pension, in equal measure as he demands of the workers? Will he dig into his pockets to pay for the stupid mistakes of his past management? Fat chance.

Maude Ham


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