Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday News @ Noon...New England Stop & Shop Contract Updates

New England Stop & Shop Contract 
New England UFCW members OK strike, though negotiations resumed yesterday.  The previous contract between Stop and Shop and the union's 43,000 southern New England members expired last Saturday.

The Hartford Courant has more (with video):
"The company gave us a new proposal," said Brian Petronella, president of UFCW Local 371 in Connecticut. "Basically the same concepts, which we don't like."

More @ Providence Journal & & Supermarket News.

UFCW Local 1360 (NJ) members are voting on a contract with Acme today.

Tops Market plans to close four of the 79 recently acquired Penn Traffic stores.

More than 450 janitors who clean Safeway supermarkets in Northern California voted on Saturday to ratify a tentative collective bargaining agreement with four janitorial services contractors employed by Safeway.

Wakfern lays out plan for Shaw's: Of the Connecticut-based Shaw's Supermarkets it acquired, Wakefern Food announced plans to change the stores to PriceRite and ShopRite banners.  The deal is expected to close in late March or early April. Financial details were not disclosed.

Supervalu, last week said it would pull its Shaw’s banner out of Connecticut this spring, selling 11 locations to members of the Wakefern cooperative, another five stores to Stop & Shop and seeking buyers for its remaining two locations. Terms of the sales, which are expected to be finalized in late March, were not released.

The UFCW International Scholarship application is now available online.

Supermarket News looks at Whole Foods' 30th birthday.

And The Brooklyn Paper reports that Whole Foods has begun their clean up of their Gowanus site in Brooklyn, reports say Whole Foods is committed to building on the toxic controversial site.

Retail owner of Mystique Boutique now faces jail time and big monetary damages for allegedly underpaying workers' hourly wages and neglecting to pay overtime.  Employees at his stores were allegedly paid $5.25 an hour, which is $2 below minimum wage. In addition, for the last six years, employees have worked 66-hour work weeks and were not paid overtime. About 150 workers are owed the $1.5 million

Food Emporium stores last week debuted “A Taste of France,” an event providing New York metro-area shoppers with over 30 new and exclusive items of French delicacies, from popular gourmet brands such as Emmanuelle Baillard, Des Lis Chocolat, Barral, Apidis and more.

Food Politics
The Obama administration released details of its Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a $400 million-plus program that aims to bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved urban and rural communities across the U.S. — so-called “food deserts.”...Meanwhile First Lady Michelle Obama visited the Fresh Grocer last Friday.

New Pittsburgh Law Guarantees Good Service Jobs at Developments
The country's first city-wide policy to create jobs that pay prevailing wages to service workers employed at city-subsidized developments became a law in Pittsburgh this week. The new law, which received a unanimous vote from City Council, requires developers receiving subsidies or other tax-incentives to pay the private-sector going rate to building service, food service, hotel and grocery workers.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

President Both Announces Staff Changes

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 continued with staff changes at the end of 2009 that will better prepare the Union for the upcoming negotiations and challenges in the future.

UFCW Local 1500 President Bruce W. Both announced that Vice President and Field Director Fred Walter would become the Executive Vice President replacing newly appointed Secretary-Treasurer Anthony Speelman. Fred has been with the Union for 21 years as a Union Representative, Field Director and Vice President.

President Both also announced the promotion of Union Representative Robert Newell who replaced Recorder Rhonda Nelson as a Field Director. Rob has been with the Union for 15 years as an organizer and Union Representative. Rob started with Local 1500 as a Special Projects Organizer on the Wild By Nature campaign back in 1995-1996 which lead to the successful organizing of those workers.

Patrick Purcell Jr., formerly the Director of Special Projects for Local 1500, has been promoted to the position of Assistant to the President. Pat was formerly a Union Representative and Director of Organizing for the Local in addition to having been the Director of Special Projects.

“These three individuals are each talented in their own way and have helped this Union grow and succeed. In addition to the other promotions announced earlier this year, I feel confident that our Union is well prepared for the challenges that we face in the coming years,” stated President Both.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Morning One Liners...

FRESH incentives approved for first two supermarkets

New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA) this week approved two tax incentive packages to assist in the development of two new supermarkets in the Bronx — the first projects to be given the go-ahead under the Fresh Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program, which funds grocery stores in so-called “food deserts.” NYCIDA approved about $3 million in real estate and tax for a Foodtown store, and nearly $5.6 million for a Western Beef location.

Wine at Grocery in NY
Patterson proposes a higher fee for wine in supermarkets
New York Gov. David Patterson is recommending that his previous wine-at-grocery executive budget proposal, which would bring in an estimated $92 million to the state in the form of franchise fees, be amended to increase the required franchise fee for retailers with gross sales of over $1 million...Meanwhile proposals for a $1 per pack cigarette tax increase, and a penny per ounce tax on sugared beverages linked to obesity, remain unchanged.

Ahold’s Giant-Carlisle chain here said Monday that it had completed its acquisition of 25 Ukrop’s stores in the Richmond, Va., market, and that those stores would take on the Martin’s banner later this spring.

King Kullen was #2 on Supermarket News' top 50  independents' list.  Kullen's 52 stores accounted for $940 million in sales in 2009.  While Fareway stores (not Fairway), out of Boone, Iowa, ranked 1st and brought in $950 million.  Glass Gardens came in at 19, The list was compiled to determine the largest supermarket operator in terms of volume with sales below $1 billion in the U.S..  The entire list of 50 companies are available here.

The Washington Post remembers the life of the late UFCW International Vice President Beth Shulman.

Approximately 55 janitors who clean Northern California Safeway supermarkets unconditionally returned to work Thursday night after walking off the job Wednesday night, as protracted contract negotiations continued between SEIU United Service Workers West Local 1877 and four janitorial services employed by Safeway.

Kroger and its union employees in Atlanta and Savannah, Ga., have reached tentative agreement on new contracts, the retailer here said.

DNAinfo gives an update on the new upper east side Fairway Market.  The 60,000 square foot proposed site is on 240 E. 86th street.

Wegmans Food Markets and Costco, Inc. have been chosen the best grocery retailers in a consumer survey conducted by global customer intelligence solutions company Market Force Information, Inc., which will present insights from the survey in a webinar co-hosted by the American Marketing Association

Workers join suit over NYC restaurateur's labor practices: Owner and partners accused of stiffing employees on pay. 

NY Times: Immigrants Claim Wal-Mart Fired Them to Provide Jobs for Local Residents
A small group of West African men who came to the Rockies in search of economic opportunity are embroiled in a dispute with Wal-Mart, accusing it of a raft of discriminatory actions. Most say they were dismissed because supervisors wanted to give their jobs to local people in need of work. Wal-Mart, which has a history of discrimination and labor complaints but has increased efforts to promote diversity at its stores, denies the accusations.

NYT: Once Stigmatized, Food Stamps now finds Acceptance.

Gillibrand endorsed by the New York County Democratic party.

New on the bookshelves: Cornered, a new book by Barry C. Lynn, analyzes the new monopoly capitalism and the economics of destruction:

Regular Harpers and Financial Times contributor Barry C. Lynn paints a genuinely alarming picture: most of our public debates about globalization, competitiveness, creative destruction, and risky finance are nothing more than a cover for the widespread consolidation of power in nearly every imaginable sector of the American economy.
Cornered strips the camouflage from the secret world of twenty-first-century monopolies-neofeudalist empires whose sheer size, vast resources, and immense political power enable them to control virtually every major industry in America in an increasingly authoritarian manner. He reveals how these massive juggernauts, which would have been illegal just thirty years ago, came into being, how they have destroyed or devoured their competition, and how they collude with one another to maintain their power and create the illusion of open, competitive markets.

Random Story of the Week
A 23-year-old Georgia man has been charged with walking into a Walmart, picking up a metal baseball bat from the sports department and pummeling 29 flat-screen TVs, the USA Today has more.
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Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday News at Noon: Gillibrand visits Staten Island ShopRite

Crain's NY: Fairway Negotiating for another NYC Site.
Upper East Side residents may soon have a better selection of produce and dairy products to choose from. Fairway Market is in negotiation for a lease at 240 E. 86th St., between Second and Third avenues, according to two real estate sources.

Pathmark is replacing a planned film studio in Philadelphia, plans on opening new store early 2011.

Walmart announced last week it plans to eliminate approximately 300 positions, primarily in the corporate support area at its main offices here, in an effort to be more efficient.

Senator at your Supermarket: Senator Gillibrand (NY) meet with Staten Island shoppers and ShopRite employees in Staten Island Saturday. 

UFCW Local 7: Colorado:  Safeway & King Soopers Ratify.
Safeway and Kroger-owned King Soopers grocery store clerks and meat cutters on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to ratify a four-year contract that they rejected in a vote late last year. The new agreement covers about 3,000 retail clerks and meat cutters in Denver, Broomfield, Parker and Castle Pines.

More: Union improves grocery contracts.

Stop & Shop provides tours to Elementary School children.
The tour is now called the “Stop & Shop Store Explorer Program,” and includes information about recycling, the environment and Stop & Shop’s Healthy Ideas shelf-tag program.

Stop & Shop has been advertising for new 'temporary workers' throughout New England, with contracts expiring on Feb. 20.

More @ The Provincetown Banner

BJ's Wholesale Club opened their store in Flushing on Saturday, instead of cutting a ribbon, they broke bread.

Fox News: Harlem Costco struggles to catch on.

Notorious developer Joe Sitt, plans on developing a $100 million shopping center in Bensonhurst, anchored by a BJ's Wholesale Club.

Tops Markets
Watertown Daily Times: Tops Markets is trying to find another unionized grocer to purchase seven former P&C stores in the north country, partly because they're too far from the Buffalo-based company's core service region, according to grocery union officials.

More @

More @ ABC News

A King Kullen Supermarket on Forest Avenue in Glen Cove held a ribbon cutting ceremony and grand re-opening on Friday, January 29 after the renovations of the supermarket were completed.

800 Superfresh workers in New Jersey will vote on a contract today with UFCW Local 152.

A look at the new proposed 11,000 sqft Foodtown in the Bronx, who applied for FRESH incentives.

John Durso, President of UFCW/RWDSU 338 Editorial: Focus on Green Jobs.

Philadelphia residents can now earn hundreds of dollars and gift cards for recycling with the city's new "Recycle Rewards" program.

NY Labor Commissioner (Patricia Smith) gets the nod for Federal job.

Soda Tax
State Sen. Brian X. Foley (D-Blue Point) last week, led a rally of beverage industry workers against Governor Paterson's proposed 50 percent tax on soda and other drinks.  Thomas Cullen, Vice President of Government and Industry Relations for the King Kullen Grocery Company, said: "This tax on beverages is a regressive tax that will hurt families during difficult economic times. The retail food industry works hard to keep prices down for our customers, but this tax will severely drive up cost to consumers."

Obama's Budget funds Food Retailers in Underserved Areas.
In his 2011 budget proposal, President Barack Obama has called for over $400 million in investments in new and expanded supermarkets, farmers markets’ and other food stores. A public-€private grant and loan program would significantly reduce the roughly 23 million Americans with limited access to full‐service supermarkets and create thousands of retail and construction jobs in low-income areas. The investment, split among the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, includes $250 million in New Market Tax Credit allocations to encourage private investment in underserved communities.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday News at Noon

CostcoImage via Wikipedia
Crain's: Costco Misses Mark in Harlem
After opening a store in late November with promises of jobs and economic revival for the community of East Harlem, warehouse club Costco Wholesale Corp. terminated 160 of its 453 workers there last month in order to cut costs.

A Michigan painting company that did work for Hempstead Village and Suffolk County admitted to paying its workers less than New York's prevailing wage, and must repay the employees and state more than $371,000 in back pay, penalties and interest, the Nassau district attorney said Thursday.

Daily News: Farmworkers Deserve their Day in Court: Fundamental Rights are being denied
The vast majority of farmworkers in our state are now Latino, and for decades they have been deprived of the most basic rights afforded to virtually all other laborers. It's long past time to get creative and close an old loophole that has led to a new civil rights problem.

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