ALBERTSON'S, Boise, Idaho, said it has no control over employees of the floor-cleaning companies it contracts with to provide janitorial services for its stores. The comment came in response to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by southern California members of the Service Employees International Union. The suit charged that Encompass Staffing Services -- which employs janitors to clean stores operated by Albertson's, Ralphs Grocery Co. and Vons Cos. -- was violating wage and labor laws. An Albertson's spokeswoman said the chain's contracts with various janitorial contractors require them to operate in compliance with all state and federal wage, tax and worker compensation laws. Representatives of Ralphs, Vons and Encompass could not be reached for comment.
Netherlands, said last week it is looking into centralizing distribution to its five U.S. companies -- Bi-Lo, Giant (Carlisle, Pa.), Giant (Landover, Md.), Stop & Shop and Tops -- through a single warehouse "the size of several soccer fields." Hans Gobes, Ahold spokesman, told SN the company is in talks with several potential third-parties -- including C&S Wholesale Grocers, Brattleboro, Vt. -- that would build, own and operate the facility. He also said the new facility, which could be functioning by late 2002, would serve as a drop-off point for suppliers and would not replace any existing Ahold warehouses.