PHOENIX — A coalition of store employees, community organizations and the United Food and Commercial Workers union here is scheduled to participate in a community forum today focusing on Food City, the Hispanic format operated by Bashas', and the coalition's concern about its treatment of consumers and employees. The group, Hungry for Respect, outlined its concerns in early November in a memo to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors that said the Food City stores had more health violations per routine inspection than the Bashas'-banner stores, reflecting a bias against Latino populations. Hungry for Respect said yesterday it was inviting Tom Swanson, senior vice president of Food City to attend. However, in a letter to forum organizers that Swanson shared with SN, he sought to explain that the union-backed group is mis-representing the facts, noting that routine inspections of health and safety levels at Food City have actually been better than results Safeway and Kroger-owned Fry's, which are unionized companies. "We will not further the mean-spirited and self-serving game plan of the UFCW in a staged press event, the only goal of which is to publicize lies," Swanson wrote.
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