NEWS WATCH

In Portland, Ore., 5,000 retail clerks and meatcutters at 102 food stores have ratified new three-year agreements more than two months before their current contracts were to expire in mid-July, said United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555. This agreement is in contrast with three years ago, when the negotiations resulted in an 87-day strike against Fred Meyer Inc. This year's negotiations centered

In Portland, Ore., 5,000 retail clerks and meatcutters at 102 food stores have ratified new three-year agreements more than two months before their current contracts were to expire in mid-July, said United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555. This agreement is in contrast with three years ago, when the negotiations resulted in an 87-day strike against Fred Meyer Inc. This year's negotiations centered on economic issues only, with journeyman clerks getting annual hourly raises of 30 cents to rise to $14 an hour and journeyman meatcutters getting annual hourly raises of 35 cents to rise to $16.44 an hour. In addition, pension payments increased 15% to 20%, with meatcutters who are age 55 and have 30 years service able to retire at the full pension amount. A management spokesperson could not be reached for comment. Local 555 has 17,000 total members.

ly 20 at Shop 'n Save; and Oct. 12 at National Markets.

GIANT FOOD, Landover, Md., has announced plans to open 10 to 20 freestanding drugstores in Washington and Baltimore over the next two years. The region's largest grocery chain, Giant already operates three such units, all located near one of its supermarkets, while 134 of its 177 traditional sites include pharmacies. The new freestanding drug stores, which will be 7,000 to 10,000 square feet, will not be tied to a supermarket.

ASSOCIATED FOOD STORES, Salt Lake City, last week reported a 0.4% decrease in sales in fiscal 1997, to $933.7 million, compared with $937.5 million a year ago. Total funds paid to members fell 4.7% to $46.8 million compared with $49.1 million in fiscal 1996. The report was made at the company's annual meeting here.

PATHMARK STORES, Woodbridge, N.J., said it expected to complete the sale last Friday of four stores in Allentown, Bethlehem and Reading, Pa., and Trenton, N.J., to Giant Food Stores, Carlisle, Pa., a division of Ahold USA. Pathmark plans to sell seven other Pennsylvania stores by autumn.