Safeway Clearing Entrances of Signature Collectors

The grocery store chain says it's answering its customers' concerns.

By RJ Middleton
|  Thursday, Aug 11, 2011  |  Updated 7:17 AM PDT
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Safeway Clearing Entrances of Signature Collectors

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Safeway maintains that often petition signature gatherers crowd the entrance to stores, causing a safety risk to customers.

Safeway is starting to herd those signature collectors away from the front doors of their stores. Those same signature collectors are protesting by --- wait for it --- gathering outside the doors of Safeway's headquarters.

The grocery store chain says the paid petitioners do not abide by corporate policies, according to The Merc. The signature collectors say Safeway is violating their Constitutional right to free speech.

A statement from the petitioners reads: "...Safeway managers have been harassing, photographing and threatening signature gatherers with restraining orders, denying their right to participate in California's direct democracy."

To which a Safeway manager responded: "quite hilarious."

Susan Houghton told the Mercury-News that Safeway is being aggressive about this, and has, indeed, filed injunctions against some petitioners because their customers "are just fed up with it."

Rick Fenton, an organizing protester, said petition signature gatherers are independent contractors. He believes that Safeway's policies are directly structured for people like him to "find someplace else to circulate."

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