Monday, February 28, 2011

A Message from President Both; Re: Pathmark

                                                                                    February 28, 2011

A&P announced last week that the company would close 32 underperforming stores in the chain’s network of stores.  Every UFCW member is affected by this announcement in one way or another.  Together, the 14 UFCW local unions who represent workers at the chain’s 395 stores are working diligently to put UFCW members in the best possible position for whatever the future holds for this company.

The UFCW A&P local unions have retained financial analysts and bankruptcy attorneys so that our interests are represented in the bankruptcy proceedings. UFCW leaders sit on the creditor’s committee.  By committing to a unified approach, every UFCW local union is operating from the same position – that together, we are stronger. 

We are facing a lengthy process and encourage you to have patience.  Last week’s store closing news was a shock, but as a group, the UFCW was able to respond similarly in every location by using the existing collective bargaining agreement to protect as many jobs as possible.  Several hundred Teamster brothers and sisters have lost their jobs as a result of A&P’s management decisions during this process. You may have seen them protesting the company at your store or stores in your area.  Talk to your union representative about the best way you can show your support.

If you have any questions about the bankruptcy process and how it might affect your store, please attend your next General Membership meeting on March 9, 2011 (RSVP on Facebook), or ask your union representative at (800) 522-0456.

Yours truly, 
Bruce W. Both

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Remember our next General Membership Meeting is March 9, 2011!
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lunchtime Blog: News One-Liners: 2/21-2/24

PathmarkImage via Wikipedia

Shuttering of Sheepshead Bay Pathmark has Lawmakers looking for Affordable Supermarket Options.

More @ NY Post, ABC News w/ video, NY1 w/video, Long Island Business News, Brooklyn Eagle.

Supermarket News reports A&P is looking for a $6.8 M incentive plan
 The proposed plan would reward a group of 146 salaried employees up to $6.8 million in cash, provided the chain can reverse a decline in same-store sales while maintaining or improving merchandise margins during a 28-week period beginning with the commencement of A&P's new fiscal year Feb. 27. The plan could allow four senior executives to earn 175% of their base salaries while providing 100% bonuses for other participants, including the company's chief information officer, senior vice presidents, vice presidents, senior directors, directors, district managers and senior category managers.
Supermarket News has reactions from the store closures.

On Tuesday, Walmart Stores announced its fourth-quarter same-store sales fell more than expected., down 1.1% as they struggle with "pricing and merchandising issues".  More @ Pro Gro @Forbes.

Looks like NYC is not the only area Walmart is trying to infiltrate (besides South Africa, a Civil War battlefield, and San Diego) a report surfaced they're going after Target's turf in Minnesota, with a reportedly $1 billion budget.

Ad Age: Walmart could take NYC...With help from the Obamas.
The Walmart-Obama combo, Mr. Flickinger said, is "the most powerful pairing America may have ever seen. It's the worst nightmare for the supermarket sector, food retailers and wholesalers and [unions]."
Walmart is also building a new grocery store in Chicago's West Loop.

Looking at the Walmart-Massmart (South Africa) merger, groups wonder where are the conditions?

Massmart's shares also fell this morning.

China's National Development and Reform Commission has fined Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Carrefour SA a combined 9.5 million yuan ($1.4 million) for deceptive pricing practices at a small number of stores around the country. More @ The WSJ.

King Kullen is debuting a new nutritional scoring system called NuVal this week. "Implementing the NuVal scoring system is the most ambitious step we've taken in 80 years to promote nutritious eating," said Brian C. Cullen, co-president. More @ LI Business News.

Stop & Shop announced a new Fuel Price System.

Queens Chronicle: Aldi comes to Rego II.

CBS News: Groceries, Clothing Will Soon Cost You More Money.
Global wheat prices have more than doubled in the last six months....

Image via:
DNAinfo: Upper East Side Fairway to open in June!

The Huffington Post wonders where they can buy tomatoes.

The Tribeca Amish Market files for bankruptcy.

Stand with workers in Wisconsin!  There have been rallies all week across the nation, showing amazing union solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin.   Can't make a rally? Show your support in the Social Media world by using this photo for your profile pic or twitter icon.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Message from UFCW International President, Joe Hansen; Re: Wisconsin

United Food and Commercial WorkersImage via Wikipedia

You've no doubt seen by now that tens of thousands of working Americans, including UFCW members, have come to the Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin to rally, protest, and make a stand for workers' rights. It's no exaggeration to say that what's happening in Wisconsin is of great importance to working families. It may be our last chance to save our shrinking middle class.

Republican Governor Scott Walker's attempt to strip public workers' collective bargaining rights under the pretense of balancing the state budget has got working Americans all over the country up in arms. Especially since Wisconsin's budget was in great shape until Governor Walker decided to reward his corporate buddies with tax breaks.

It's the same old corporate greed that we've seen chipping away at the American Dream in the last few years, with politicians exploiting working people while stuffing the pockets of their Wall Street cronies.

But it's clear as the momentum keeps building and the movement keeps growing in Wisconsin that this is no ordinary protest. And now workers nationwide are joining with Wisconsin's workers to make a last stand for the middle class. Click here to find out more info on where and when these rallies are happening, and if there's one near you.

These are families who have seen years of Republican fiscal irresponsibility—and are saying, no more.

These are union members who are tired of being scapegoated by the same old politics—of being told that they're responsible for this fiscal crisis, rather than the CEOs and Wall Street speculators that drove our economy into the ground.

These are students and teachers and parents and nurses and firefighters and retail clerks and plant workers and auto workers and steel workers and plumbers and truck drivers and public employees—these are the ordinary working people that make this country strong.

And they have had enough.

It's not just in Wisconsin, either. In states all across the country—maybe your state, too—Republicans are proposing bills to take away workers' rights, to destroy the unions that serve as the last line of defense for America's middle class.

President Obama was half right when he said what was happening in Wisconsin is “an assault on unions.” Because it's not just unions. The laws that are being proposed in Wisconsin and elsewhere are an assault on all working people, on all working families.

So the middle class is making a stand in Wisconsin. And if we can stop Governor Walker there, we can stop similar attacks on workers across the nation. It's so important that we stand with our brothers and sisters in Wisconsin, as well as in Indiana, in Ohio, and all over the country.

In solidarity,

Joe Hansen
UFCW International President

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Weeks End One Liners: Pathmark, Walmart's 2nd No Show, Aldi's NY Invasion

Aldi Süd, TrierImage via Wikipedia
#Pathmark/ #A&P 
Borough President Marty Markowitz says he'll help find a replacement for the Pathmark closing in Brooklyn.
Daily News: Sheepshead Bay Pathmark soon to close, leaving void in neighborhood. 

Newark Post: A&P Seeks Bankruptcy Court Permission to close Glassgow Pathmark.

A&P Names 6 new Execs after announcing the closing of 32 stores. A&P Closing 10 Philly Area Stores.

Progressive Grocer: A&P Shuttering 32 Stores.

The Real Deal: Sheepshead Bay Pathmark Closing.

NBC Philly: Hundreds of Jobs on the line with A&P closures.

Yesterday, the New York City Council held a hearing on Walmart's labor history.  The hearing was filled with testimonies from Women's Advocacy groups, former Walmart employees, Unions, Attorneys, Gay Advocacy groups, Researchers & community groups.  Though Walmart was extended an invitation, they did not attend, again. 

The RWDSU recapped yesterday's hearing

NELP: That's A LOT of Wage Theft, Walmart! Testimony of Annette Bernhardt, Ph.D.   

Crain's: Walmart Hearings, Round 2.

Defending Walmart is a fireable offense @NYObserver 

Fox: No Love for Walmart in NYC.

Melissa Mark Viverito debates Walmart in NYC on NY1, check it out!


Borders Bookstore has filed for bankruptcy and announced they'll be closing 200 stores.

Target is opening a smaller format store in Chicago, seems like a growing trend for cookie cutter stores trying to break into urban markets.

Walmart in South Africa, 'The Beast in the Bush'; Economist.

WSJ: Pressure on Walmart to show strategy.

Take action on behalf of the workers in Wisconsin! From the UFCW International:
Workers and their allies in Wisconsin are gearing up for a drawn out fight with the state's new Republican governor Scott Walker, who has announced a plan to roll back state government employee rights by decades, and has called on the Wisconsin legislature to enact it quickly--calling out the National Guard if necessary!  
Head here for more info and to help out the workers in Wisconsin! 

Bloomberg's new City budget calls for over 6,000 teaching job cuts.

UFCW President and Change to Win Chair, Joe Hansen Denounces Congressman Boehner’s Pro-Unemployment Remarks. [Press Release]

Consumerist: Walmart says returning books and magazines is illegal?

Aldi (under the Trader Joe's corporate umbrella) had their grand opening in NYC (Queens) today. They have huge expectations for NYC. [Press Release]  They've also said, they're not done opening stores in NYC.   
via Crain's: In the Bronx, Aldi signed a lease at 1750 E. Gun Hill Rd. near the Westchester County line in a nearly vacant shopping center. The 18,000-square-foot store is expected to open late this year, though construction has not begun yet.
In Bayshore, Aldi has a space at 1851 Sunrise Highway. The Rego Park store is located at 61-11 Junction Boulevard.
It's great to see affordable supermarkets opening, though, Aldi stores don't generate many jobs for communities, and the jobs that they do provide aren't union.   We see Target opening smaller stores in Chicago and Walmart focusing on smaller store formats, these stores are looking to eliminate jobs and replace them with more demanding working conditions for less pay.  Not only do we need healthy and affordable food options, but we need jobs that provide paths for career development, health care and provide solid, sound means to supporting families. Enjoy your weekend and as former Walmart worker Kenneth James said to me yesterday after his testimony, "Keep fighting the good fight."  

Recap of the NYC Council Hearing: When Walmart Comes to Town

By: Diana Robinson, Food Policy Coordinator

Wal-Mart is the largest private in employer in the country; it also has the largest class action law suit against them for discriminating against female employees. In addition to this it is recognized by Human Rights Watch as the greatest violator of worker rights. So it is no surprise that Wal-Mart was a no show at New York City Council hearing yesterday to discuss Wal-Mart’s labor practices and documented history of discrimination against women.
Before the hearing there was a demonstration in front of the Emigrant Savings Bank where the hearing was held. Protesters held up signs that said “Wal-Mart is Anti Women” and “Wal-Mart sucks the life out of Communities”. They also chanted “Wal-Mart cheats, Wal-Mart hates, Wal-Mart discriminates”. Joining protesters were former Wal-Mart employees from around the country, who testified on their experiences working for Wal-Mart.

During the hearing several panels gave testimony on facts about Wal-Mart’s practices in discriminating against women and violating workers rights. Annette Bernhardt, Policy Co-Director at National Employment Law Project testified that Wal-Mart participates in a practiced called “time-shaving” where if any employee is over 40 Hours they will go into the system and remove the overtime hours to avoid having to pay the employees’ overtime.
Kenneth James a former Wal-Mart department manager testified how after he participated in a press conference to support the Employee Free Choice Act his hours were reduced from 37 hours a week to 18 hours a week; he went on to say that at one point he received a paycheck for $514, and was then forced to live off of $14 for two weeks after having to pay his rent. He also testified that female co-worker also suffered retaliation after participating in the press conference and her hours were reduced to zero.

Councilman Eric Ulrich commented that” We have the toughest laws, Wal-Mart won’t [participate in wage theft] do it here, and that with these economic times any job would be good.” To which Bernhardt responded that is doesn’t matter what laws are in existent if they cannot be enforced because of lack of resources and when the only solution are lawsuits. Councilwoman Melissa Mark Viverito also responded to Ulrich’s comments by saying that New Yorkers ‘don’t just want any jobs, they want good jobs that will help our communities and the people in them grow.’

It was clear throughout the hearing that Wal-Mart has systematic pattern of violating workers rights and discriminating against women: whether it be by cutting pro union workers hours or denying women promotions. Their promise of jobs and low prices isn’t enough for New Yorkers. Wal-Mart’ decision to not appear at the New York City Council hearings and defend its self shows its unwillingness to face the facts and own up to what they have done. It is also insulting to the NYC Council members and the New Yorkers that they represent. How can we allow them to enter our communities if they are not willing to answer our questions and face us?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Morning One Liners: A&P is closing 32 stores across six states

Yesterday, A&P announced they will be closing 32 stores across six states.   Supermarket News provides the full list of stores, not confirmed by the company.  They also announced six new VP's yesterday.
“While this was a very difficult decision that will unfortunately impact some of our customers, partners, communities and employees, these actions are absolutely necessary as we work to strengthen A&P’s operating foundation and improve our performance,” Sam Martin, chief executive officer of A&P, said in a statement.
Crain's NY: Bankrupt Grocer to Shutter 32 Stores.

More @ Asbury Park PressPhiladelphia Business Journal, Star-Ledger, Long Island Business News, Patch,,

Fresh Direct is expanding deliveries to Bergen County, New Jersey.

Four Walmart employees were fired a week after disarming a man who was attempting to smuggle a laptop computer out of the Utah store. Walmart says the employees were terminated because they violated company policy. [CNN]

Target to open 'City-Target' in Chicago.

Big-Y to take over vacant ShopRite site.

Yesterday, Greenburgh's town board approved the building of a new Stop & Shop.

NYC is not the only community protesting a possible Walmart.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Statement from President Bruce W. Both; Re: Pathmark Store Closings

PathmarkImage via Wikipedia

It is with much dejection to announce that UFCW Local 1500 has been notified by A&P / Pathmark that they will be closing three stores that employ members of UFCW Local 1500: Commack, Long Island; Hartsdale, New York  and Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn. These stores are part of larger plan by A&P to close 32 stores in six states.

Company executives have listed the stores as "under-performing” and decided that these closings were necessary in order to demonstrate a strong solid Turnaround Plan in order to rebound from Chapter 11.

The following is a statement from UFCW Local 1500 President Bruce W. Both:

 “The loss of just one union member is one loss too many.  Local 1500 leadership is deeply troubled by today’s announcement and will aggressively enforce our collective bargaining agreement.  While we are all disappointed by today’s announcement, it should not come as a shock as we know that A&P/Pathmark must undergo massive changes to their corporate structure if they are to emerge successfully from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.”

“The unionized members of Pathmark are the backbone of this company and the foundation on which any future must be built. Those employees affected by today’s announcement of store closings are victims of mismanagement by previous company executives.  As I have said before, store closings alone will not save this company and they must focus on providing their employees and customers with innovative leadership, cutting edge technology and a more thorough and competent understanding of the grocery industry.”

“Local 1500 leadership remains optimistic about the future of this company for one compelling reason: the unionized employees. We urge management to listen to the workers' suggestions as to how better operate these stores. Many Pathmark employees have been with this company for well over 3 decades and are more than experienced in running successful supermarkets.  After today’s announcement, we urge management to move past store closings, and begin to listen to their store employees and return this company to its rightful place as a leader in the grocery industry.”

Local 1500 will conduct a thorough process for the three store closures once the 90-day notice is given under the WARN Act.  For any questions or further comments please contact your Union Representative at 1-800-522-0456 or send us an email at  Union Representatives will be servicing Pathmark stores to speak and answer any of the questions Pathmark members may have.  Additionally a Pathmark Hotline has been established to update all Pathmark members of current news and actions; you may reach the hotline at 1-800-522-0456 ext. 1355. 

Update, we originally reported 33 stores would close, we have confirmed through A&P 32 stores will close.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Afternoon One Liners: Happy Valentines Day, JPMorgan Downgrades Walmart,

This weekend, hundreds lined up to meet Martha Stewart at Fairway in Stamford, Connecticut.

Times Square Gossip says A&P is ripping off New Yorkers.


Brooklyn Eagle: Mom & Pop stores Protest Walmart.

Fight against Walmart has stepped up.

Walmart Won't Fix New York, New Yorkers Will...[Huffington Post]

Brooklyn Paper: ShopRite wants to beat Walmart to Gateway II.

NY Mag: Brooklyn, Who would you rather have ShopRite or Walmart?

Walmart continues push toward urban domination.

NYTimes: With Walmart silent on plans, critics turn to rumored site.

Walmart Stores shares drop hard after JPMorgan downgrade.

Business Insider: Walmart's Reign is Over.


In our weekly, "Thanks, Walmart" spot, an interesting story, Walmart sells a fake ipad, then refuses to refund his money.  Now the customer is suing Walmart.  Check the story at The Consumerist.

Walmart's Massmart bid has cleared the first hurdle (South Africa). More @ New York Times.

A&P's Senior VP and CFO has resigned.

Michael J. Wilson, the National Director of Americans for Democratic Action has an excellent editorial in the Huffington Post titled "Changing the Rules for Workers"
It's no surprise that Republicans and their corporate allies are up to their old games. Or, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, "There they go again!" Having successfully blocked congressional efforts to strengthen the right of workers to organize a union, they now want to stop workers from learning their rights under weak existing labor law.

Last week, workers at JBS ratified their first union contract with UFCW Local 1776.

Some people are happy that Aldi is not selling Tobacco.

The NY Post doesn't have much to write about notices that Aldi hasn't gotten the New York "Walmart" treatment.

BJ's Wholesale Club is under 'investor investigation' over takeover bid rumors.

Big Y is in talks with a Connecticut town over taking a former ShopRite site.

A new fuel cell in a Stop & Shop store located in Connecticut has made the store 90% more 'greener'.  [S&S Press Release]

AFL-CIO Blog: Show some Union love on Valentines Day.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday Icey Afternoon One Liners:

Apologies on delays getting the news feed out, we've been diverging most of our time on this Thursday's rally and City Council hearing on Walmart in NYC

Walmart's plans for a store near a Civil War battle field is canned!

From Crain's NY: ShopRite is jockeying with Walmart for the Brooklyn site.
Let's see, Walmart just ened their $1.00 Sunday premium on January 1, pays [Walmart] low wages, has a tough history with gender discrimination (the list goes on) ShopRite workers get healthcare and pension plans and Sunday premiums and vacation time and guaranteed raises with job protection. Talk about a no brainer.

Mike Albo from the @N_YPress imagines life in NYC with Walmart a good piece, outlining the transformation of NYC;  "It will indicate how desperate we may be for work—any work. It will be a further sharpening of the edge between high and low, luxury and convenience, rich and poor. And it will show us all how far we are willing to let the city change to be able to buy thongs and pacifiers in the same place." 
Our brothers and sisters in Chicago are gearing up for a North Side Walmart fight.  More @ ABC News.

With all of our attention on Walmart, Aldi, a discount supermarket is planning and preparing for their NYC debut.  With their first store set to open on February 18, in Rego Park, the store only anticipates to hire less than 18 employees.

More: Long Island Business News (subscription): Global Retailer, Aldi coming to Long Island. Anticipating 20 stores opening throughout Long Island. Update: Dolan Media has the full contents of the article here.

A&P has asked U.S. Bankruptcy Court for permission to reject a logistics contract with Grocery Haulers Inc., which provides trucking services for its Pathmark stores, saying the contract is inefficient and likely to become more expensive.  Supermarket News has the story. is taking on Fresh Direct for web groceries.

Last week, Key Food opened their first Connecticut store, in Stamford. 

Inserra Shoprite is developing a new store in Jersey.

Kmart in New Springville, Staten Island — not Pathmarkwill be closed to make way for a Target in 2013.

CBS News Special Report: Discount Grocers Growing Fast.