PUBLIX WAREHOUSE WORKERS HOLD UNION VOTE
mmercial Workers International Union here said the nearly 1,000 employees at a distribution center in Deerfield Beach, Fla., operated by Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla., held a vote earlier this month to determine whether they will be represented by the UFCW. The results of the two-day vote will not be tabulated until the National Labor Relations Board rules on Publix's appeal of the NLRB ruling that authorized the vote, a process that could take months, a union spokesman told SN. The spokesman said workers at the warehouse had sought union representation because of unsafe working conditions and abusive treatment by management. The workers also have not had a raise in two years, he added. A Publix spokesman was not available for comment.
FINAL AGREEMENT SIGNED IN DEBIT CARD SUIT
NEW YORK -- The lawyer representing 5 million U.S. retailers in their class-action suit against the country's two largest payment card companies said formal settlement agreements have been signed by the parties in the case. Lloyd Constantine, the New York attorney who was lead counsel in the case, said, "The payout to merchants will be easy, fair and equitable." According to Constantine, Visa USA, San Francisco, will pay $2.025 billion to merchants over the next 10 years, while MasterCard International, Purchase, N.Y., will pay $1.025 billion over the same period. Constantine said the agreements call for the two companies to lower their fees on offline signature debit card transactions beginning Aug. 1, and to no longer require merchants to comply with the payment card companies' tying arrangements as of Jan. 1. He added that the agreements will be submitted to Judge John Gleeson, U.S. District Court, Brooklyn, N.Y., for preliminary approval.
EARTH FARE TO BUILD EIGHT STORES IN TWO YEARS
ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Earth Fare here, a seven-store regional chain of natural and organic supermarkets, said it plans to more than double in size in the next two years. The company said a store currently under construction in Mount Pleasant, S.C., is scheduled to open in September, while a unit in Knoxville, Tenn., is slated to open in spring 2004. The company added that it is scouting additional sites and expects to open a total of eight new stores by the end of 2005.
SPARTAN SELLS TWO FOOD TOWN STORES: REPORT
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Spartan Stores here has sold two of its Food Town supermarkets -- in the southern Michigan towns of Rockwood and Monroe -- to an unnamed Detroit-area businessman who plans to operate them as independent stores, according to published reports. A Spartan spokeswoman was not available for comment. In separate news, Spartan said last week it has completed the previously announced sale of its convenience distribution subsidiaries to H.T. Hackney Co., Knoxville, Tenn.
GRISTEDE'S CEO CATSIMATIDIS MULLS MAYORAL RUN
NEW YORK -- John Catsimatidis, majority stockholder, chairman and chief executive officer, Gristede's Foods here, said he is considering becoming a candidate for mayor of the nation's largest city in 2005. While he told SN he won't make up his mind about running until the end of the year, he said he has donated $250,000 to a committee that will buy time later this month for a television ad urging current Mayor Michael Bloomberg to do a better job of lobbying Congress to get funds for the city. "New York took a hit for all of America [on Sept. 11, 2001]," he said. "Washington promised us money. Why isn't Bloomberg being the squeaky wheel?"