Members of Grocery Workers Union See No Joke in Queens Tribune Walmart Announcement

Union Switchboard Flooded with Calls from “outraged” Members and a Concerned Public

QUEENS VILLAGE, NY (04/05/2010)(readMedia)– Dozens of members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 participated in an unscheduled “Walmart Drill” this past weekend when responding to a story in the Queens Tribune announcing the opening of a Walmart in Glendale, Queens on the site of the Atlas Park Mall. As it turned out, it was an April fools’ joke that turned into the retail store version of Orson Wells famous radio episode of “War of Worlds.”

“For awhile today it appeared that Glendale, Queens had become our Grovers Mill, New Jersey,” stated Bruce W. Both, President of UFCW Local 1500, New York State’s largest Local Union representing grocery workers. “The good news is that our members passed this unplanned drill with flying colors. Our switchboards were inundated with calls from members who were ready to drop everything and head to the picket line. The bad news is that they expressed outrage at elected officials who they thought were guilty of selling them out,” Both stated. “They are also not very happy with the Queens Tribune at the moment. Our members have great senses of humor, but this joke hit them a little too close to home and we will be spending a lot of time calming them down and letting them know that the aliens from Bentonville, Arkansas have not landed in Queens,” Both concluded.

President Both was referring to the October 30th, 1938, radio broadcast put on by Orson Welles that led to mass hysteria when the listening public actually came to believe that the broadcast was authentic and Martians had actually landed in New Jersey.

Rumors of Walmart seeking locations in Brooklyn and Queens have heated up lately with people calling the Union Hall saying that have received phone calls from a group doing a poll and asking questions about Walmart. “The real joke is on Walmart, “stated Patrick Purcell, spokesperson for UFCW Local 1500. ” The only way Walmart could get into this City is the same sneaky, unethical way they conduct all of their business. So when our members read the outrageous story, it made sense to them. The whole story had that bad Walmart smell to it,” stated Purcell.

“The great thing is how quickly the labor unions, elected officials and community organizations responded to the fast moving rumor,” Purcell added. “The reaction was overwhelming and it is clear the response would have been a “shock and awe” strategy that would have provided Walmart many more negatives than any positives they could have hoped for,” Purcell concluded. “In a weird way, we owe the Queens Tribune thanks for keeping us ready for the fight when it does come to our doorstep,” Purcell concluded.

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