WESTBURY, N.Y. -- King Kullen Grocery Co. here took out a full-page newspaper ad last week to explain its reasons for outsourcing its grocery distribution to Bozzuto's, Cheshire, Conn. -- and laying off 113 unionized warehouse workers.
l-page ad calling on King Kullen to seek alternatives to shuttering its grocery warehouse, including an employee buyout.
However, the chain said the switch was needed to make King Kullen competitive with Grand Union and Edwards -- Long Island chains that also outsource their grocery warehousing. The ad accuses the Teamsters, who have been picketing King Kullen stores since Sept. 1, of running "an organized assault."
"In their own words, the Teamsters are attempting to destroy our business," said the ad. "For a labor organization that is supposed to care about saving jobs, it is sad and unfortunate -- and curious -- that teamsters from Washington and elsewhere would so willingly jeopardize the livelihoods of our more than 4,000 Long Island employees, 90% of whom are union members."
"We had to respond to the negative information and the misinformation put forth by the union," said Lloyd Singer, a spokesman for the chain.
As reported, King Kullen offered the laid-off workers a total of $1.5 million in severance pay even though it said it had no "contractual or legal obligation" to do so. That offer was rejected by the union.