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Sherman A1

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Gender: Male
Current location: U.S.
Member since: Sat May 13, 2006, 07:37 AM
Number of posts: 34,088

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Safeway Expands Reusable Shipping Containers for Produce

In a move that is estimated to eliminate over 17 million pounds of corrugated cardboard shipping boxes, Safeway Inc. has transitioned to using reusable product containers (RPCs) to ship many types of produce from the farm fields through the distribution channel and to final store destinations.

Safeway, which has introduced a broad range of successful sustainability practices across its operations, has used RPCs for decades on many of its consumer brand categories, including bread, milk and soda. The company began testing RPCs in its distribution system for fresh wet-pack produce — fruits and vegetables kept on ice until they reach the store — in early 2010.

Making the transition for produce, which continued throughout 2011, was a more complicated process than for other products because of the requirements the shift placed on the Pleasanton, Calif.-based retailer’s distributors and grower partners.

The company's major supplier, IFCO Systems, says Safeway's implementation of RPCs was the fastest and most aggressive program roll-out of its kind to date.

Explained Tom Nartker, Safeway’s VP of transportation: "This expansion into produce is a natural extension of best practices in logistics. Safeway will continue to look for opportunities to expand the usage of RPCs into additional categories to have an even greater positive environmental impact."


Unionized Shoppers Workers Mobilize

Following successfully concluded talks with Giant-Landover and Safeway, members of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 working at Shoppers Food & Pharmacy have formed an Activist Contract Team (ACT!) and launched a website in support of collective bargaining.

Local 400 members are backing Shoppers workers in their demands for a contract to replace the one set to expire on July 7. Landover, Md.-based Shoppers is a banner of Supervalu in Minneapolis

“We will not let Shoppers/Supervalu dump its financial problems on our members’ backs,” said Local 400 president Tom McNutt. “Workers are Shoppers’ greatest asset and the solution to the company’s problems, which lie exclusively in the executive suites. We are going to emphatically make the case that investing in Shoppers’ workers in the best and only way for the company to start growing and profiting again.”

One major issue likely to arise during negotiations is Supervalu’s operation of a non-union banner, Save-A-Lot, which has stores in many of the same markets and communities as Supervalu union banners. “Cannibalizing yourself has never ranked as a sound business strategy,” McNutt noted, “and Save-A-Lots are losing money. Rather than eat itself alive, Supervalu needs to invest in its union workers and banners so it can start eating the competition.”


Pevely, MO axes fluoride in public water

PEVELY • Adding fluoride to public drinking water is among the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but city officials in Pevely say the cost — $8,000 to $10,000 a year — is too high.
The cash-strapped city ran out of fluoride to add to its water supply at the end of last month and isn't buying more, despite protests from dentists and the Jefferson County Health Department.
"We're like every town that's struggling financially," said City Administrator Jason Eisenbeis. "We can't continue to do more with less."
And while many, if not most, cities are searching for ways to trim costs, fluoride programs elsewhere have avoided being chopped. But less fluoride is being added to water supplies in many places after a new federal recommendation.
"We're concerned we may see more of these things happening because everyone's struggling for money," said Dennis Diehl, director of the Jefferson County Health Department.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/5b692ada-010d-56ef-a91c-3788d137e05a.html#ixzz1xTSX6PJz

A sign of the times?

Raley’s May Close Stores if Union Strikes

Raley's, in an effort to head off a strike vote, is warning its union workers about actions it will take – including store closures -- if they walk out.

According to the Sacramento Bee, West Sacramento, Calif.-based Raley’s CEO Michael Teel said the grocery chain plans to hire replacement workers to keep stores open in the event of a strike, but even with replacements expects to close select underperforming store locations for good.

The grocer already announced four store shutdowns this year, saying it needs labor concessions to become more competitive with nonunion rivals such as Wal-Mart.

Members of UFCW Local 8, based in Roseville and covering much of the Central Valley, are scheduled to hold strike-authorization meetings starting today, however, it said that Raley’s Bel-Air subsidiary won't vote because their contract doesn't expire until June 30.

Local 5, based in San Jose, has already authorized a strike against Raley's.

Even if the employees vote to strike and the contracts run out, a walkout wouldn't take place immediately, if ever, said published reports. But while negotiations could resume, a strike would be much closer.

According to a post on the Local 8 website: “Despite being in mediation and having additional dates already set to bargain, Raley’s declared an impasse in negotiations late Friday, May 25th. Although this is an inaccurate description of the talks, it is an indication of their intent to force takeaways to your benefits and wages, without even allowing you to vote on your own contract.”
According to the union, Raley's wants to eliminate bonus pay for Sunday and holiday work. Existing employees would continue getting bonus pay for working nights, but newly hired workers would lose that benefit.


Italian Grocer Deploys ‘Scan and Bag’-Style Technology

As part of its renovation, the Conad supermarket of San Benedetto del Tronto -- one of more than 330 Conad Adriatico stores in Italy – added a self-shopping service that allows customers to scan their own items as they shop the store.

The service is similar to Stop & Shop’s Scan N’ Bag service, using a scanner, called the Joya pod, from Eugene, Ore.-based Datalogic. Eighty-four Joya pods are available for customers to help them shop. To use, the shopper simply points Joya pod at the product barcode and click on a button to make the price of the product appear on the display, along with the shopping total and complete list of products already scanned and packed in the shopping bags. When shopping is done, instead of waiting in line at the checkout counter, the shopper can go directly to the reserved self-payment machines.


These times they are a changin.......

Toronto Council Votes to Ban Bags: Report

TORONTO — A policy requiring retailers here to charge customers 5 cents for every plastic bag they issue has been rescinded in favor of an outright ban on plastic bags, published reports said.

The measure was approved by city council this week over the objection of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who had called for the tax to be rescinded but was surprised when the council then approved a separate ban measure, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported.

The “bag tax” went into effect in 2009 and has reduced plastic-bag use by 53%, the council said in a study. The proposed rule to ban bags outright would take effect Jan. 1.


Supervalu Cuts Store Staff in So. Calif.

FULLERTON, Calif. — The Southern California division of Albertsons here said Wednesday it plans to reduce its store-level workforce by an estimated 2,200 to 2,500 positions during the next few weeks — approximately 12% to 13% of the total workforce in the chain.

Albertsons is the largest retail subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Supervalu, with 247 stores in California and Nevada. It said the reduction is part of an effort to focus on simplifying its organization and reducing expenses to help reinvest in more customer-facing initiatives.


This does not bode well.

Bill Pushes for Increase in Wages

WASHINGTON — Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr. tried to give new vitality to the issue of the federal minimum wage on Wednesday, coming at the debate with a fresh angle: that raising it might encourage Americans to spend more and, thus, help stimulate the nation’s struggling economy.

At a Capitol Hill news conference, he said the economy would be bolstered by increasing “the purchasing power of millions of low-income and low-wage workers, and one proven and effective way of doing that is to raise the federal minimum wage.” He has introduced a bill that would immediately increase the minimum wage by $2.75, to $10 an hour from $7.25.

The argument in favor of raising the minimum wage as a form of economic stimulus goes to the heart of the debate in government and business spheres about whether more spending needs to be part of the prescription for strengthening the economy.


Putting money into the hands of those who would most likely spend it as a means to stimulate the economy. How novel?

San Diego and San Jose Lead Way in Pension Cuts

While the eyes of the nation focused on Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker brushed back a recall attempt by critics of his move to strip most public-sector unions of their collective bargaining rights, a pair of less noticed local elections Tuesday in California could have more immediate ramifications for struggling state and local governments and for organized labor.

Residents of San Diego and San Jose voted overwhelmingly to cut the pension benefits they give city workers. And they did so in a way governments traditionally avoid: moving to cut not just the benefits of future hires, but also those of current city workers, whose pensions generally have much stronger legal protections than those of private-sector workers.


While I understand that money is a problem, changing the rules for those already in a system mid stream is simply wrong in my opinion.

Kowalski’s Workers OK Contract

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Workers at Kowalski’s Markets here have ratified a new, one-year contract that mirrors recent agreements with other local operators, according to the union local.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189 said its members voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of the new contract, which replaced one that had expired last August covering about 400 Kowalski’s workers. The relatively short duration of the contract — it expires next April 6 — is due to uncertainty over health care reform, Don Seaquist, president of the local, told SN.

He also said the main issue in negotiating the contracts in the area has been the withdrawal of the employers from a multi-employer defined-benefit retirement plan and the migration to a retirement plan that had previously been supplemental.


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