KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The board of Associated Wholesale Grocers here said it has named Gary Phillips as president and chief executive officer on a permanent basis.
lf years, abruptly left the company.
Carolan's departure came within weeks of settlement of a months-long labor dispute with the Teamsters Union that reportedly had a negative impact on AWG members' retail sales.
Phillips, who joined AWG in 1974, had served as executive vice president and chief financial officer since 1996. He had spent the previous 14 years as senior vice president and general manager of AWG's Springfield, Mo., division.
AWG serves 850 retail stores across a 10-state area.
The dispute between the company and the Teamsters involved approximately 1,200 union members working at AWG facilities here and in Springfield, whose three-year contracts expired April 1. In February, the company told the union it planned to outsource its distribution and lay off the entire workforce when the contracts expired; the company also reportedly said the union would have to negotiate separate contracts for warehouse workers and drivers with the various third-parties operating the warehouses.
Teamster members began picketing retail stores supplied by AWG and filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board. In May, the board ruled the employers had bargained in bad faith and urged the company to reopen negotiations.
Two weeks later, AWG said it would use a single third-party to manage its warehouse and transportation operations, clearing the way for the union to negotiate a new contract for all its members as a single bargaining unit.
Ousted Teamsters returned to work in June under a new eight-year agreement -- a settlement the union told SN could have been reached earlier if AWG had allowed the Teamsters to negotiate for its members as a single entity.