PHOENIX — Chandler, Ariz.-based Bashas' has reached agreements with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and related entities that would call off all lawsuits and other pending actions against each other, subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court here.
The court was scheduled to rule last Friday on whether to allow Bashas' to enter into the settlement agreements. Bashas' has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since mid-July.
According to Michael McGrath, an attorney for the chain, Bashas' hopes to file a plan for reorganization with the court by mid-January and to emerge from Chapter 11 later in the first quarter of 2010.
Specific details of the agreements will remain under seal and all parties have agreed not to comment on them, McGrath told SN.
According to documents filed by Bashas' asking for the court's approval, the settlement agreements call for the union to terminate its campaign against Bashas' and for Bashas' to terminate its information campaign against the union, and for all parties to terminate hostile public campaigns and use of websites supporting those campaigns.
They also ask all parties to use their best efforts to obtain prompt dismissals of pending lawsuits and administrative claims and complaints, and that the union will restrict its efforts to organize Bashas' workers for a specified period of time.
The motion says the chain's debtors believe the settlement will permit Bashas' to restore mutual trust and cooperation with employees; business operations will be more efficient and profitable; and the chain's legal costs will be significantly reduced.
The UFCW launched a campaign against Bashas' in 2006 over the status of the union at certain stores the chain had acquired from another operator.
In late 2007, Bashas' accused the union and related parties of violating various state laws and causing Bashas' to suffer financial damages.
“The parties have agreed that the initiation of the bankruptcy proceedings fundamentally altered the context in which [the disputes] were being pursued,” according to the motion.