Arbitrator Rules in Favor of UFCW Locals 1776 and 1360 by Requiring SUPERVALU To Require Any Buyer of Shop 'n Save Stores to Honor Contract and Hire People

Jul 31, 2001, 01:00 ET from UFCW Local 1776

    PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., July 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Food and
 Commercial Workers Locals 1776 and 1360, representing workers in super market
 chains owned by SUPERVALU today was notified that the workers employed in the
 former Shop 'n Save stores in suburban Philadelphia won a significant victory.
 The stores are located in Trooper, Hatfield and Yardley.  The workers in the
 Yardley store are represented by UFCW Local 1360.  Wendell W. Young, III, the
 President of UFCW Local 1776 said: "They will have their contract upheld, and
 SUPERVALU must honor the Contract with Local 1776, requiring any company that
 purchases the stores to offer employment to the workers laid off at Shop 'n
 Save, and to assume the contract that exists, guaranteeing them their wages
 and benefits and all other conditions contained in the document."  Clay
 Bowman, President of UFCW Local 1360 agreed and went on to say that: "This win
 for the workers is significant and substantial, and sends a direct message to
 companies that operate based solely upon corporate greed, that the people do
 have power, and are not afraid to stand up and fight for their rights."
     Federal Magistrate Judge, Jacob P. Hart, acting in the capacity as an
 Arbitrator in this matter agreed with the Union and ordered SUPERVALU that
 they "[S]hall not sell, transfer, convey or assign any store covered by the
 Shop 'n Save collective bargaining contract without first securing agreement
 of any successor to assume the Shop 'n Save collective bargaining
 agreements   "  The Judge went on to say that this order shall also apply to
 anyone that the current purchaser may assign the stores to under a separate
     Young and Bowman said that while the victory at Shop 'n Save was an
 important one, and they are pleased by it, they are still not satisfied that
 the workers at Laneco, the other company owned by SUPERVALU and part of this
 action, did not share in the victory.  The Judge ruled that the grievance
 against Laneco was denied, thus allowing those stores to be sold without the
 people and the contract that protected them.  Young stated: "This is a
 terrible example of how property rights mean so much more than human rights in
 this country.  The leases on the buildings are held sacred, while the company
 decides to simply ignore the contract securing the people's jobs."
     Despite the contrary ruling on the Laneco sale, Mr. Young felt that this
 battle, first in the Federal Courts, and then before Judge Hart, was
 necessary, and the great win against SUPERVALU was important for a number of
 reasons.  First, it demonstrates that the protection of a contract is
 important, and that companies cannot simply run away when they want to avoid
 their obligations.   It demonstrates the resolve of the Union, in that while
 difficult, the Officers, Staff and Members were committed to do what was right
 for those affected by these destructive actions.  And it will send a message
 to others who wish to do the same that they will be in for a tenacious fight
 if they attempt to avoid their obligations to the workers.
     Secondly, it assists UFCW Local 1776 in its long battle against Governor
 Ridge's attempt to privatize the PLCB Stores, destroying thousands of good
 jobs in Pennsylvania.  This victory over SUPERVALU demonstrates that the Union
 has been right in fighting to protect the successor and assigns language in
 the PLCB contract.  This language does in fact mean something, and it is
 something vital to the jobs and lives of the members.
     This win will also help in the Union's fight against other employers that
 may try and avoid the contracts that they have with their workers,
 specifically the potential fight with Super Fresh Markets, over the proposed
 sale of its Lansdowne Store to Giant of Carlisle Super Markets.  The language
 in the Super Fresh contract is similar to that in the Shop 'n Save contract.
 This victory over SUPERVALU will be the catalyst and precedent to go on to
 fight to make sure that all employers honor the contracts to which they affix
 their signatures.
     Wendell Young finished by stating that the fight to help the displaced
 workers is not yet over, and that the Union will continue to work on their
 behalf, negotiating severance packages, enforcing the provisions of the
 contract that provide for such benefits, and in other ways that can create and
 ensure jobs for years to come.
     The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union represents over
 1.4 million workers nationwide in the retail food, food processing, health
 care and service industries.
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SOURCE UFCW Local 1776