CHANDLER, Ariz. — A union-based coalition here has asked the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to increase the frequency of inspections at stores "of any company with a significant number of major [health and safety] violations" and "to see if geographic concentrations of grocery stores have consistent patterns of under-performance relative to the chain's other stores." Those requests followed submission of a memo by the coalition, Hungry for Respect, to the supervisors charging that Bashas' Hispanic-oriented Food City stores received 47% more major violations per routine health inspection than Bashas'-banner stores from January 2005 through last September. The memo also said the five Bashas'-owned stores with the poorest performance on health inspections were all Food City locations in neighborhoods with Latino populations of 60% or higher and that 15 of the 20 Bashas'-owned stores with the poorest performance on health inspections were Food City locations. Hungry for Respect called on Bahsas' to establish controls and training at Food City stores to eliminate any disparities with Bashas' stores. Responding to the charges, Mike Proulx, president and chief operating officer of Bashas', told SN the company's scores on health inspections of Food City stores have improved "dramatically" over the last few years, "and we're proud of the 100% scores we're receiving," he added. He said the coalition's charges are part of "a smear campaign" initiated last summer to force Bashas', which has eight unionized stores, to unionize the rest of the chain. Hungry for Respect describes itself as s a coalition of grocery store employees, community groups and United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 99.
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