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Union for Laneco Workers Says It Has Agreed to Severance Proposal

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, representing over
1,100 workers at Laneco stores in eastern Pennsylvania today announced that it was willing to recommend that the workers who were recently laid off accept a severance proposal made by Supervalu, the parent company of the local food stores.

The package the Union was willing to accept is the same as the one Supervalu worked out with UFCW Local 56, who represented the meat department employees.

The package calls for up to ten weeks pay for full time employees as well as three months of extended health care benefits.

Wendell W. Young, IV, the Executive Vice-President of UFCW Local 1776, said he believes that, prior to the proposal that was received in writing by the Union on Monday, August 27, 2001, Supervalu had refused to bargain in good faith with the Union on the effects of the closings on union members.

He also noted that, in the few negotiating sessions the company did hold with the Union, Supervalu had been consistently trying to link the acceptance of a severance package with the company's desire to escape its contract obligations to require that the new owners
of the Shop 'n Save stores hire the former Shop 'n Save workers.

The Union had filed for arbitration on the matter of the contract's successor language and a neutral arbitrator has ruled that Supervalu must honor the successor language in the Shop 'n Save contract. Young noted that Supervalu was insisting that the Union accept a severance offer that would relieve it of its obligations to live up to the arbitrator's decision.

``It was clear to us that Supervalu was linking the acceptance of a severance package for Laneco employees, that they would only describe orally, with a desire to get out from under the recent arbitrator's decision on the successor language at Shop 'n Save,'' he said. ``The Union viewed this attempt to link the issues as a potential Unfair Labor Practice and we told the company that we were
prepared to file those charges if they persisted in that effort.''

As a result of the Union's refusal to accept the conditions that Supervalu was trying to put on any settlement offer, the company has been trying to persuade union members to accept the deal by sending letters to them that the Union contends contained misleading and inaccurate information. The Union's spokesman, Wendell Young, IV, said the company's tactics in bypassing the Union in effects
bargaining and bargaining directly with employees also violated labor laws.

``When we confronted Supervalu with the possibility that we might file Unfair Labor Practice charges against them because of their failure to honor common practice in effects bargaining, they claimed that there was no linkage between the offer they were making and their desire to avoid having to honor the arbitrator's decision on Shop 'n Save,'' said Young. ``If that is true, then we are willing to
accept the proposal that is on the table on behalf of our Laneco members in the Lehigh Valley and Lehighton and we have notified the company today of our intention to do so. We have also notified Supervalu of our desire to continue effects bargaining on behalf of the Shop 'n Save members of Locals 1776 and 1360.'
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