News Watch

C&S CLOSING THREE CHATTANOOGA BI-LO WAREHOUSES CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. Three warehouses here that service area Bi-Lo stores will close by June 15, published reports said. C&S Wholesale Grocers, which operates the warehouses, informed workers last week of the pending closure, the Chattanoogan newspaper said. The warehouses are currently serving Bi-Lo stores in Tennessee and parts of Georgia. According to

C&S CLOSING THREE CHATTANOOGA BI-LO WAREHOUSES

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Three warehouses here that service area Bi-Lo stores will close by June 15, published reports said. C&S Wholesale Grocers, which operates the warehouses, informed workers last week of the pending closure, the Chattanoogan newspaper said. The warehouses are currently serving Bi-Lo stores in Tennessee and parts of Georgia. According to the report, C&S would service those areas from its Mauldin, S.C., Bi-Lo facility. A C&S spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

MARYLAND DROPS ‘FAIR SHARE’ HEALTH CARE FIGHT

BALTIMORE — Maryland's attorney general said last week he would not seek to challenge a federal court decision striking down controversial legislation that would have required large retailers like Wal-Mart Stores to increase their health benefit payments. The so-called “Fair Share” health care act, which was backed by labor unions and by Landover, Md.-based supermarket chain Giant, was passed by state lawmakers two years ago but overturned in court because it was preempted by the existing federal benefits laws. “The reason we are not seeking review is not because we think the law is unconstitutional. It is clearly constitutional and two courts have so held,” Douglas F. Gansler, attorney general, said in a statement. “What the courts found was that the law was preempted by a very broad federal law called ERISA. We believe that seeking further review would not be successful.” The Employment Retirement Income Security Act prohibits state regulation of the benefit plans of national companies.

TEAMSTERS STRIKE KROGER'S LOUISVILLE WAREHOUSE

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Teamsters unhappy with Kroger's decision to outsource its warehouse and transportation services called a strike against the new management here last week. Around 700 drivers, warehouse workers and mechanics walked off the job last week at the 776,000-square-foot warehouse, which serves around 140 stores in Kroger's Mid-South division. Kroger earlier this year transferred management of the warehouse to Zenith Logistics and transportation to Transervice. “Kroger stores remain open for business as usual,” Kroger spokesman Tim McGurk said in a statement. “While this is unfortunate, and we hope the third parties resolve it quickly, it will not disrupt our stores or the service our customers have come to expect.” Officials from Teamsters Local 89, which represents striking workers, and Verst Group Logistics, the Walton, Ky.-based parent of Zenith, were not immediately available for comment.

WAKEFERN LAUNCHES LOYALTY-BASED CREDIT CARDS

EDISON, N.J. — Wakefern Food Corp. here, which operates ShopRite and PriceRite stores, and Chase Card Services, Wil-mington, Del., last week announced the launch of the ShopRite Rite-Rewards MasterCard, ShopRite Private Label Credit Card and PriceRite Private Label Credit Card. The ShopRite Rite-Rewards MasterCard and the ShopRite Private Label Credit Card include the benefits of the ShopRite PricePlus loyalty cards.

NEW YORK DEBATES LEGISLATION BANNING PLASTIC BAGS

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York lawmakers are debating a bill that would ban the use of plastic shopping bags at supermarkets statewide. Assemblyman William Colton of Brooklyn earlier this month introduced an act to amend the state's environmental conservation law to prohibit the use of plastic bags in all supermarkets with annual sales of $2 million or more. Only compostable plastic bags, paper bags or reusable bags could be used for checkout. Colton in an article in the Daily News newspaper last week said the law would help spark a market for biodegradable products, reduce waste in landfills and lessen dependence on oil. The bill has been referred to the environmental conservation committee.