NEWS WATCH: DOMINICK'S, TEAMSTERS AGREE TO NEW PACT...REPORT: REGIONAL CHAINS EYEING TOPS STORES...SAFEWAY SIGNS NEW, FIVE-YEAR CREDIT FACILITY...

DOMINICK'S, TEAMSTERS AGREE TO NEW PACTd warehouse employees represented by Teamsters Local 703 here agreed to a new contract with Dominick's last week, ending negotiations that lasted for more than a year, the union said. The union was working under a day-to-day extension of a contract that expired in April 2004. Two of the three groups of Teamsters approved a new contract with Dominick's parent

DOMINICK'S, TEAMSTERS AGREE TO NEW PACT

d warehouse employees represented by Teamsters Local 703 here agreed to a new contract with Dominick's last week, ending negotiations that lasted for more than a year, the union said. The union was working under a day-to-day extension of a contract that expired in April 2004. Two of the three groups of Teamsters approved a new contract with Dominick's parent Safeway late last month but one group held out, at which point Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway threatened to end the extension, reports said. The new deal offers workers wage and benefit increases of $3.05 over 30 months, the union said.

REPORT: REGIONAL CHAINS EYEING TOPS STORES

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Regional grocery chains including Penn Traffic and Price Chopper are eyeing certain Tops Markets stores in upstate New York, a report in the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper reported. The report cited sources indicating Tops, based here, was seeking to sell about 20 stores in small communities in central New York and the Adirondack region. Representatives of Tops were not available for comment, and a Price Chopper spokeswoman declined comment.

SAFEWAY SIGNS NEW, FIVE-YEAR CREDIT FACILITY

PLEASANTON, Calif. -- Safeway here said it has entered into a five-year, $1.35 billion revolving credit facility. The agreement, arranged by Banc of America Securities and JP Morgan Securities, provides a separate $250 million credit facility for Safeway's operations in Canada, the retailer said. Safeway said it would use proceeds for the new agreement to pay back money owned under a previous agreement arranged in 2001, and for general corporate purposes.

STRACK & VAN TIL EMPLOYEES AGREE TO NEW CONTRACT

HIGHLAND, Ind. -- Union employees at three stores owned by Strack & Van Til here voted in favor of a new contract and avoided a possible strike, reports said. The Independent Employees Union members had been working under terms of a contract that expired Feb. 13. A previous vote last month was not approved because too few members voted, the report added. The contract covers employees at three Strack & Van Til-owned stores in northern Indiana and calls for annual raises of up to 60 cents per hour, depending on seniority.

FOODTOWN OPERATOR LOSES STATE ASSEMBLY SEAT

MIDDLETOWN, N.J. -- Joe Azzolina Sr., president of Food Circus Supermarkets here, lost a bid to retain his seat in the New Jersey Assembly during the Republican primary last week. Azzolina had been a longtime member of the Assembly. Two other Monmouth County Republicans edged him out in the three-way race to run against Democrats for two seats in November's general elections. Assemblyman Samuel D. Thompson tallied 5,126 votes, followed by Monmouth County Freeholder Amy H. Handlin with 4,611 and Azzolina with 3,974. Food Circus operates Foodtown stores in New Jersey.

TWO STATE ASSOCIATION LEADERS HONORED

WASHINGTON -- Peter Larkin, president of the California Grocers Association, and Pat Hicks, president of the Kentucky Grocers Association, were honored here last week during the Day in Washington Public Affairs Conference. Food Marketing Institute presented Larkin with the Donald H. MacManus Association Executive Award for his leadership in public affairs. The National Grocers Association presented Hicks with its Association Leadership Award for his efforts dealing with state and national legislative issues.