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Safeway Reinstates Suspended Employee

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway here has reached an agreement with a union local that resulted in the reinstatement of a meat clerk who had been suspended last month after intervening in a physical altercation between a man and a pregnant woman, according to the union.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 5 said Wednesday the agreement resolves a grievance filed by the union on behalf of Ryan Young and includes back pay and benefit coverage along with reinstatement.

Ron Lind, president of Local 5, said, "While Safeway has legitimate policies and concerns around workplace violence and the appropriate employee response, once the company heard our presentation of the case, management realized the suspension was not appropriate and immediately worked with us to resolve the grievance and put Ryan back to work."

Safeway officials could not be reached for comment.

Speaking with SN, a union spokesman said Safeway's policy calls for employees to report any violent confrontations to management rather than opting to intervene, "which is a one-size-fits-all policy that makes no sense in this situation, where there was no recourse but for the employee to deal with it immediately. However, it took Safeway a month to get off the dime and resolve this."

He said public pressure may have had something to do with Safeway's action, citing an online petition at that had amassed more than 183,000 signatures calling for Young to be reinstated. Safeway also has seen its Facebook page flooded with consumer protests about Young’s suspension.

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