Hannaford Disputes Union Claim that Tops Workers Won't be Rehired

SCARBOROUGH, Maine -- While United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local One contends that Hannaford Bros. Co. here won't hire unionized employees of three Utica, N.Y.-area Tops Friendly Markets that Hannaford bought and plans to convert to its banner, Hannaford says it intends to offer jobs to the best-qualified applicants, whether they are union or not, according a local press reports.

Tops Friendly Markets said that the decision to hire the employees is up to Hannaford. A minimum of 225 area workers could be affected by the conversion to the Hannaford Banner.

UFCW Union Local One spokesman Gregory Gorea told the Utica Observer-Dispatch that Hannaford had not yet responded to the union's repeated attempts at contact, and added that Local One would soon be sending a petition containing "thousands" of signatures to the regional grocer. The petition requests that Hannaford not discriminate against union workers. Gorea claimed that the three-month transition period during which the stores will be closed is so the retailer can "get out of using" the unionized employees.

Hannaford Bros. officials did not return calls for comment yesterday.
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