FLEMING SHUTS DOWN PEORIA, ILL., DEPOT

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Fleming Cos. here said last week it has closed its distribution center in Peoria, Ill., after union members there rejected two contract offers.r's 900,000-square-foot product supply center in LaCrosse, Wis., Shane Boyd, a company spokesman, told SN.The switch was made after 50 warehouse associates and 20 drivers in Teamsters Local 627 went on strike against the facility April 7 after

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Fleming Cos. here said last week it has closed its distribution center in Peoria, Ill., after union members there rejected two contract offers.

r's 900,000-square-foot product supply center in LaCrosse, Wis., Shane Boyd, a company spokesman, told SN.

The switch was made after 50 warehouse associates and 20 drivers in Teamsters Local 627 went on strike against the facility April 7 after rejecting a new five-year offer that Boyd said had been recommended by union management; he said the members also voted down a subsequent one-year contract that Fleming proposed as an alternative. Representatives of Local 627 could not be reached for comment.

Boyd said the decision to close the Peoria warehouse is not a negotiating ploy and will not be reversed. "We incurred significant costs shifting distribution to LaCrosse, and we would incur further costs to resume operations in Peoria," he told SN.

He said the future of the 70 union members is subject to negotiation with Local 627. He said the company is meeting with 50 non-union employees, including managers, clerical staff and others in Peoria, to discuss severance packages, outplacement services or possible openings at other Fleming locations.

The LaCrosse distribution center was supplying 450 stores prior to the shutdown of Peoria, including about 200 customers it added earlier this year when Fleming closed its Laurens, Iowa, facility and shifted that volume to LaCrosse as part of a corporate consolidation.

The shutdown of the Peoria facility was not scheduled as part of that consolidation, Boyd told SN.

According to Boyd, the union's five-year contract with Fleming expired April 6. The company proposed a new five-year contract that was rejected April 2 in separate votes by the drivers and warehouse associates; Fleming subsequently offered a one-year agreement as an alternative, which was rejected by both groups April 6.

A day later the union struck the Peoria product supply center.