Newswatch

UNION VOTES ON KING SOOPERS OFFER DENVER Workers for Kroger's King Soopers chain here are scheduled to vote on the employer's latest contract offer this week in a decision that could result in a work stoppage. In a letter to members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, union President Ernest Duran said King Soopers' proposal slashes pensions, fails to preserve health care benefits, maintains

UNION VOTES ON KING SOOPERS OFFER

DENVER — Workers for Kroger's King Soopers chain here are scheduled to vote on the employer's latest contract offer this week in a decision that could result in a work stoppage. In a letter to members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, union President Ernest Duran said King Soopers' proposal “slashes pensions, fails to preserve health care benefits, maintains the unfair two-tier system and penalizes the corporation's workers.” The union has been working without a contract since the expiration of its agreement May 30. The same union has extended its deal with Safeway through June 26, but the chains have agreed to lock workers out if they strike one of the two chains.

SMITH'S WORKERS REACH AGREEMENT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Smith's Food & Drug Stores has reached a tentative agreement with union workers on a new contract, the retailer here said last week. The agreement covers more than 2,000 workers at 26 Smith's stores represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1564. Smith's, a division of Kroger, Cincinnati, said it would not release details of the agreement until workers approved it.

SENATE INTRODUCES INTERCHANGE BILL

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., last week introduced the Senate's version of the Credit Card Fair Fee Act of 2009 (S. 1212), a bill that would allow retailers to negotiate collectively with credit-card companies and banks to set interchange fees. The bill is similar to a House measure with the same name (H.R. 2695) introduced earlier this month, according to Food Marketing Institute, Arlington, Va., which is a member of the Merchants Payment Coalition, a network supporting legislative remedies to rising interchange fees. The bills would force arbitration by a court-appointed panel of experts if retailers and card companies cannot reach an agreement.

SUPERVALU, TRUCKERS IN AGREEMENT

MINNEAPOLIS — Supervalu has agreed to amend certain policies that truck drivers said forced them to bear the cost of unloading cargo at Supervalu warehouses. The agreement is part of a settlement of a 2005 class-action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court here by two individual truckers and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. The suit charged Supervalu with “coercive” practices requiring that truckers making deliveries to its warehouses show proof of insurance over and above what was required by federal statutes. According to the suit, truckers without that insurance had no choice but to employ a service to unload their trucks, a practice known as “lumping.”

Giant Eagle Launches Ohio Ads

PITTSBURGH — Giant Eagle here is offering its customers “Another Way to Save.” The chain has launched an advertising campaign in Columbus, Ohio, highlighting its money-saving programs including Foodperks and Fuelperks. According to The Columbus Dispatch, Giant Eagle's new ad agency, Y&R, Chicago, created the new ad campaign with the tag line “Another Way to Save.” The ads, which will air on TV and radio, and appear in newspapers and online throughout the summer, feature Columbus consumers telling stories of how they've saved at Giant Eagle, according to the paper. The campaign will only run in Columbus, and there and no plans to expand it to other markets, Dan Donovan, a Giant Eagle spokesman, confirmed to SN.