NEWSWATCH

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Washington, said last week it was urging Agricultural Secretary Dan Glickman to approve a plan for voluntary beef labeling. Last week, producers, processors and retailers reached agreement on a program to identify domestically raised cattle on retail meat packs. The pact -- subject to approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- calls for affixing a

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Washington, said last week it was urging Agricultural Secretary Dan Glickman to approve a plan for voluntary beef labeling. Last week, producers, processors and retailers reached agreement on a program to identify domestically raised cattle on retail meat packs. The pact -- subject to approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- calls for affixing a label to all packages of beef containing meat processed in the U.S. Among the larger U.S. chains that have expressed support for the idea are Wal-Mart Stores, Albertsons and Safeway, as well as Ahold, the Dutch-based retailer with multiple banners operating throughout the U.S.

said last week Federal Judge B. Lynn Winmill has approved the out-of-court settlement of a class-action lawsuit between the union and Albertson's, Boise, Idaho. The settlement, reached in June, calls for Albertson's to compensate some 150,000 current and former employees for back pay. The union alleged that workers were encouraged to work overtime while not being compensated, but the settlement requires no admission of wrongdoing. Several classes of employees also seeking back pay were excluded from the settlement, the union said.