WORKERS STRIKE AT SAFEWAY CANADA
EDMONTON, Alberta — Around 350 warehouse and manufacturing center employees of Safeway Canada here walked off the job last week in a strike a union official predicted could “put the survival of the Edmonton distribution center in doubt.” The workers, represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 here, rejected Safeway's latest contract offer against the recommendations of Douglas O'Halloran, the union president. Blockades at the warehouse were ordered cleared by provincial labor officials last week.
JEWEL-OSCO CHARGED IN BIAS SUIT
CHICAGO — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a disability discrimination suit in federal court here charging that Jewel-Osco refused to accommodate a pharmacy worker who had allergic reactions to cosmetic fragrances worn by her co-workers. The suit, which also charges Jewel's parent company, Supervalu, alleges that Jewel-Osco denied a request from an employee of its store in Home-wood, Ill., that co-workers not wear fragrances. The employee suffered from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and had severe allergic reactions to some fragrances, the suit alleges. The EEOC said it filed the suit only after an attempt to voluntarily conciliate the matter with Jewel proved futile. A spokesman for Jewel-Osco could not be reached for comment last week.
SNAP RECIPIENTS HIT ALL-TIME HIGH
WASHINGTON — More than 35 million Americans received assistance in June through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the food stamp program — the highest number of recipients ever — according to the Food and Nutritional Service of the Department of Agriculture. The number was up by more than 700,000 from the prior month and up 22% from June 2008, the service said. A USDA spokeswoman told SN retail participation in SNAP is also growing, with 191,476 authorized companies at the end of July.
UNION ENDS ANTI-FRED MEYER TV ADS
SPOKANE, Wash. — A union at odds with Fred Meyer Inc. over its policies and a contract has agreed to ease off on a television advertising campaign urging shoppers to patronize establishments other than the Portland, Ore.-based retailer, published reports said. Officials of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1439 here and Kroger Co., Fred Meyer's Cincinnati-based parent company, came to an agreement last week to stop an ad campaign that Kroger contended was in violation of its contract, according to the Spokesman-Review newspaper. The union has been critical of what it calls Fred Meyer's policy of dismissing workers who make a single money-handling error.
FAMILY DOLLAR Q4 COMPS UP ONLY 1%
MATTHEWS, N.C. — Family Dollar Stores here said store renovations and a tough comparable period cut deeper into sales than it had expected during its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Aug. 29. The discounter said same-store sales increased by 1%, vs. an earlier forecast of 2% to 4% growth. Results were impacted by the anniversary of stimulus checks a year ago, as well as by renovations to increase space for food in almost half its stores, the company said in a statement. The company will report earnings results Oct. 7, but maintained its forecast earnings per share.