The National Federation of Federal Employes is urging its members not to patronize the two Channel Home Center stores that have just opened in Northern Virginia because of the owner's connection with an unpopular government cost-cutting panel. The union says it has 25,000 members in the Washington area, and, according to a spokeswoman, may set up information picket lines around the stores in Alexandria and Fairfax.
The home repair firm is owned by W.R. Grace & Co. and the union says it wants to send a message to J. Peter Grace, chief executive officer. Grace chairs the President's Private Sector Survey on Cost Control, also known as the Grace Commission.
A major portion of those proposed savings would come from raising the government retirement age, making U.S. workers pay a bigger share of their health insurance premiums, and turning over some federal jobs to the private sector.
NFFE President James Peirce said, "We don't believe that federal workers should unknowingly put dollars into the pocket of a man who has vigorously campaigned to take dollars out of their paychecks and benefit programs.
The union is passing out a "Don't Shop at Channel Home Centers" flyer to its locals in this area.
Fred Bona, press relations chief of Grace & Co., said he couldn't reach anybody for a comment on the NFFE boycott action, "so we have to go with no comment." He added that the Grace Commission has identified several hundred million dollars in savings and is not aimed at federal workers.