TESCO LISTS FIRST 6 FRESH & EASY LOCATIONS
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Tesco USA here last week disclosed the six Southern California cities in which it will open its first six Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets on Nov. 8. They are Glassell Park/Eagle Rock in Los Angeles; Anaheim; West Covina; Arcadia; Hemit; and Upland. The company also said nearly 1,000 people applied for 170 positions at the six stores. Of those that were hired, more than 40% will be full-time employees.
BASHAS' WINS ONE, LOSES ONE IN NLRB RULING
PHOENIX — An administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board here ruled last week that Chandler, Ariz.-based Bashas' does not have to roll back health care premiums paid by employees at nine stores represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 99 but does have to give some employees back pay, with interest, for transferring them when it closed two stores without consulting the union. The rulings are part of a series of disputes between the chain and the union over jurisdiction at stores acquired over the years by Bashas' that had union representation at the time they were purchased. Although Bashas' acknowledged its obligation to bargain with the union for those workers, no contracts have ever been finalized, nor has the union collected dues.
MONTANA UNIONS, CHAINS REACH TENTATIVE PACT
BUTTE, Mont. — Union-represented workers at Albertsons and Safeway stores across Montana have reached tentative agreement on a new three-year contract, ending more than a year of negotiations, the United Food and Commercials Workers union said Tuesday. The contract offer, to be presented to the memberships of UFCW Locals 4 and 8 for approval later this month, provides for yearly wage increases for journeymen and significant progression increases for all workers, the union said.
USDA CREATES GRASS-FED MARKETING STANDARD
WASHINGTON — A voluntary standard for a grass-fed livestock marketing claim will go into effect Nov. 15, the Agricultural Marketing Service here said last week. Through the new standard, livestock producers may request that a grass-fed claim be verified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through an audit. Carrie Balkcom, director of the American Grassfed Association trade group, objected to the new standard, claiming the USDA standard “doesn't go far enough to make a meaningful and marketable grass-fed label,” according to reports.
AURORA ORGANIC DAIRY TARGETED IN LAWSUITS
ST. LOUIS — In a move facilitated by food activism groups, law firms in St. Louis and Denver have filed class-action lawsuits against Aurora Organic Dairy, the nation's largest supplier of private-label organic milk. These lawsuits, which allege fraud and seek reimbursements for shoppers who have purchased the company's milk, are the latest development in an ongoing fight between the Cornucopia Institute, Cornucopia, Wis., and the Organic Consumers Association, Finland, Minn., over the dairy's organic status. Cornucopia and OCA have long claimed that Aurora violates rules outlined in the National Organic Program, such as not allowing its cows sufficient “access to pasture” for grazing. Aurora, which obtained certification through the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Quality Assurance International, has said that these claims are specious. Aurora CEO and chairman Marc Peperzak said the company is prepared to fight the lawsuits, arguing in a release that: “Aurora Organic Dairy has maintained continuous organic certifications for all of our farms and facilities. Our milk is and always has been organic. Our USDA consent agreement makes clear that all of our organic certifications are valid.”