Sunday, August 14, 2011
The latest confrontation occurred Thursday afternoon when, after getting seven customer complaints in one hour, the manager of the chain's Dublin store called in security on three gatherers trying to qualify a repeal of the "Amazon tax" for the November ballot.
Signature gatherers, who are paid anywhere from $1 to $5 per name, are used by all sides of the political spectrum to qualify initiatives.
Susan Houghton, director of public and government affairs for Safeway, said the gatherers can be overly aggressive, at times blocking entrances.
In the last year, Safeway has obtained six injunctions against the gatherers and threatened 30 lawsuits.
The signature gatherers, mostly independent contractors who work for about a dozen big firms, reacted to Safeway's statewide shoo-away with a demonstration at its corporate headquarters in Pleasanton.
"They may not like what we do or where we do it, but we still have a right to free speech," said gatherer Rick Fenton.