NEWS WATCH: LABOR NEGOTIATIONS SET TO BEGIN IN S.F. BAY AREA...COURT ALLOWS CLASS ACTION AGAINST SAV-ON...IGA FORMS BUYING GROUP FOR SOUTHEAST ASIA MEMBERS

LABOR NEGOTIATIONS SET TO BEGIN IN S.F. BAY AREArcial Workers locals in the San Francisco Bay Area are set to begin negotiations with Safeway, Albertsons and Kroger this Wednesday on contracts covering 35,000 workers. They are set to expire Sept. 11, but an extension is expected, a union spokesman told SN. Health care will top the agenda in those talks, he said. Supermarket companies recently have

LABOR NEGOTIATIONS SET TO BEGIN IN S.F. BAY AREA

rcial Workers locals in the San Francisco Bay Area are set to begin negotiations with Safeway, Albertsons and Kroger this Wednesday on contracts covering 35,000 workers. They are set to expire Sept. 11, but an extension is expected, a union spokesman told SN. Health care will top the agenda in those talks, he said. Supermarket companies recently have had to contribute additional money to support the health care funds for the workers, according to the union. Meanwhile, UFCW Local 711, Las Vegas, was set to resume negotiations with the same three supermarket companies late last week on contracts representing about 6,000 workers. The two sides first met on Aug. 5 for opening discussions, although neither side had submitted proposals as of early last week, according to a statement from the union. Additional talks are scheduled for Sept. 8 to 10.

COURT ALLOWS CLASS ACTION AGAINST SAV-ON

SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court here last week ruled that a lawsuit against Albertsons' Sav-on Drug Stores division alleging it unfairly denied workers overtime pay could proceed as a class action. The decision overturned an appeals court ruling of a suit brought by former Sav-on employees who allege they were wrongly classified as managerial workers. The suit estimates that 600 to 1,400 people employed by Sav-on in California between 1996 and 2001 are eligible to be part of the class.

IGA FORMS BUYING GROUP FOR SOUTHEAST ASIA MEMBERS

CHICAGO -- IGA International here said last week it has formed a buying group for its 150 IGA members in Southeast Asia, encompassing retailers in China, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. IGA said M-C McLane International, Oakland, Calif., will be the sourcing, consolidation and logistics supplier for all shipments for the group. M-C McLane, a division of the McLane Group, Temple, Texas, was founded in 1958 to provide international trade management services, global sourcing and logistics within the international consumer products arena. "This is a continuation of steps we are taking to realize the leveraging power that the IGA network can bring to the international wholesaling and retailing arenas," said Thomas Haggai, chairman and chief executive officer, IGA.

WAL-MART PUTS SOUTH CHICAGO STORE ON HOLD

CHICAGO -- Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., said last week it would delay plans to build a store in the south of this city amid resistance from community leaders and politicians. The company recently won approval for its first Chicago location, on the city's west side. According to reports, the company remains interested in the South Side project, but has allowed its contract with the developer to expire. The Chicago City Council recently rejected Wal-Mart's request for a zoning change for the site. Two Chicago aldermen have proposed legislation that would require operators of big-box stores to meet stringent wage and benefit standards.

BRUNO'S EXECUTIVE DIES AFTER RACE CAR CRASH

JONESBORO, Ga. -- Services were held here last week for Tony Davis, loss prevention manager for Bruno's Supermarkets, Birmingham, Ala., who died from injuries suffered in an auto accident during a corporate outing at Talledega Superspeedway. Davis, 42, was attending a corporate event run by Racing Experience Driving School at Talledega Superspeedway Aug. 24. He had completed a six-lap race when his car reportedly veered into the outside wall. He was airlifted to UAB Hospital in Birmingham, where he died Aug. 26. A driving instructor in the car with Davis suffered minor injuries. "Tony was a friend and colleague whom I have had the privilege of knowing and respecting," said Bruce Efird, executive vice president and general manager, Bruno's Supermarkets, in a statement. "It goes without saying that his presence will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time,"