WinCo Foods Believes Union Behind Opposition to Proposed Moses Lake Store
Although the parties involved deny it, WinCo Foods officials believe a grocery store worker's union is behind efforts to challenge a proposed new store in Moses Lake.
A group calling itself 'A Stronger Moses Lake' have challenged the plan to build the structure, claiming not enough planning was done to consider traffic, and the environmental impact it would have.
Behind the challenges are Donna Anderson and Peggy Vines, who's attorney has a reputation for challenging various cities around the Northwest when it comes to land development. Anderson and Vines claim the city didn't do enough planning or studies about the impact increased traffic would have near the proposed location. They also claim the store would disturb certain wildlife that are reportedly found in the area.
However, WinCo Vice-President of Public Affairs Michael Read said this is a thinly-veiled attempt to stop the store because WinCo is a non-union company. He said the company has seen similar tactics used in other communities.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union officials say they have no contact with Anderson and Vines, and they are not involved in the process.
The Moses Lake Planning Commission rejected a complaint filed by Anderson and Vines over the Commission's ruling that the store would not pose an environmental hazard.
Now, the two women and their attorney have taken the fight to the Grant County Superior Court, and are appealing the decision.
Their attorney, Michael Whipple of Spokane, joined the fight last November. He has a reputation of challenging development projects, including representing a group of Cheney, WA area residents who are opposing construction of a private airstrip outside of town.
Supporters of WinCo also say Vines union involvement is suspicious. She is a vice-president of UFCW Local 1439. They also claim Anderson has previous union ties as well. That's likely where the claims of union opposition have come from.
As is with the store on Clearwater in Kennewick, WinCo is an employee-owned store that is not part of any worker's union.
Adding fuel to the possibility of union involvement in the opposition, i-Fiber News online has found the group 'A Stronger Moses Lake' was founded on Facebook last February, and appears to be focused on WinCo. The group is NOT listed as a non-profit, and Anderson and Vines are listed as the co-chairs of the group, according to court papers.
Facebook does allow administrators of pages to remain anonymous, so it's not known if Anderson and Vines themselves created the page. According to i-Fiber, most of the comments on the page oppose the group, and believe the store would be good for the Moses Lake economy.