Union For Laneco Workers Again Accepts Company's Severance Proposal; Union Says SuperValu in a `State of Confusion'

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

    PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Wendell W. Young, IV,
 Executive Vice President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local
 1776, representing over 1,000 workers at Laneco stores in eastern
 Pennsylvania, said today that the union is once again, on behalf of the
 workers who were recently laid off in the Lehigh Valley and Lehighton Laneco
 stores, accepting the severance proposal made by SuperValu, the parent company
 of the local Laneco.
     Young said that the recent history of negotiations concerning the
 severance for the workers has been full of inconsistent changes of position by
 SuperValu.  In information disseminated this week by the United Food and
 Commercial Workers Union Local 1776, the union pointed to the
 misrepresentations and inaccurate statements and positions of SuperValu.
     The initial linking by SuperValu of the severance package they
 conceptually discussed with the union with the vacating of the arbitration
 award regarding the Shop 'n Save stores, was then specifically "unlinked,"
 according to Young.  When the union accepted the new "unlinked" severance
 offer on behalf of the Laneco workers, when it was finally put into writing by
 SuperValu, the company then announced that the offer was no longer valid
 because SuperValu had again linked the issues.  Young said "this confusing
 presentation" by the company then included a deadline of 5:00 p.m. EDT, on
 August 30, 2001.
     Next the company revoked the deadline approximately eight hours before it
 was set to expire.  Then, on August 31, 2001, the company sent another letter
 to the union saying that the revocation of the deadline was in error, and it
 was instead meant to be sent after the deadline.
     "This is the type of incredibly unprofessional and misleading actions that
 the union and our members have had to deal with throughout this process," said
     Young went on to say that, despite this "state of confusion" in SuperValu,
 the union is again accepting the severance proposal on behalf of the Laneco
 workers from the Lehigh Valley and Lehighton stores in Pennsylvania, and that
 the union "will continue to fight to make sure that SuperValu lives up to
 every contract provision for both Laneco and Shop 'n Save workers."
     Young said that, in addition to accepting the severance proposal for the
 Laneco workers, the union continues to be ready and willing to negotiate a
 separate agreement for Shop 'n Save workers.  This will be based upon the
 recent significant arbitration ruling by a federal Magistrate Judge requiring
 the new owners of the Shop 'n Save stores to hire the former Shop n' Save
 workers, and honor terms of the collective bargaining agreement with the
     "Our members who worked at the Laneco and Shop 'n Save stores labored very
 hard over the years to make this company profitable, and now they are being
 cast aside by SuperValu," said Young.  "We are an organization that always
 places our members first, and we will not tolerate the indiscriminate and poor
 treatment of them by this company."
     Finally, Young said:  "I believe that the real crime here, on top of the
 insulting manner in which the company sold and closed the stores while
 purposely misleading the workers, is that the company has sent to those same
 workers, in their homes, the hope and promise of up to ten weeks pay and other
 benefits to help them go on with their lives, while having no intention of
 delivering on those hopes."
     "This emotional roller coaster that the company has placed these men and
 women on is indefensible," Young said.  "And, in my opinion, the selfish and
 insensitive manner of this company is typical of the lack of loyalty
 demonstrated by many companies today towards their workers, while at the same
 time they expect -- and in fact demand -- absolute loyalty to the company from
 the workers."
     UFCW local 1776 represents over 23, 000 workers in the retail food, food
 processing, service and health care industries in Pennsylvania, and a number
 of surrounding states, as well as workers in Pennsylvania's state-run liquor
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SOURCE UFCW Local 1776