Phil Matier: Safeway Versus Paid Signature Gatherers

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Safeway is complaining that paid petition signature gatherers are not playing fair outside their Bay Area stores. Those signature gatherers though say their first amendment rights aren’t being respected.

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier said that on Wednesday around a dozen petitioners showed up at Safeway headquarters to complain about their lack of rights outside Safeway.

”You know, a trip to the grocery store really is getting to be a community thing,” said Matier. “After you give a buck to the homeless guy and then make your way through the various cookie sales people you wind up with a signature gatherer, all before you get in the front door.”

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier Comments:

Matier said that he doesn’t think customers are as annoyed with signature gatherers who are working on local issues such as school bonds or local community construction projects, but countywide and state issues aren’t as welcome, especially because there are so many.

”These are people who are hired by one of around 12 companies in the state to gather these signatures as contract workers,” said Matier. “They get between one and five bucks per signature that they gather that day, so they can get pretty aggressive and loud because there’s money involved.”

Safeway is acknowledging that they have a right to be there, but the company doesn’t want the petitioners getting in the way of business. The grocery chain is asking that they check in before starting their work, and try not get right in people’s faces.

You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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