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    Bashas' Lays Off 350 Associates

    The employees won't be receiving severance pay, although some have been placed on a placed on a "preferential hiring list."

    Faced with stiff competition and a foundering economy, Bashas' laid off 350 of its approximately 13,000 workers Saturday.

    Representing less than 3 percent of the firm's total work force, the layoffs were spread throughout Bashas' corporate offices, distribution centers and stores.

    Employees didn't receive severance packages, although full-time workers were placed on a "preferential hiring list," said company spokeswoman Kristy Nied.

    "It's no secret that we're battling on several fronts for the future viability and profitability of the company, and we're facing fierce competition and the economic recession," Nied told The Arizona Republic, additionally citing as a reason the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), against which Bashas' has filed a defamation lawsuit alleging that the union's corporate campaign against the grocer has included distributing negative fliers, door hangers and direct mail pieces; crafting, distributing and publicizing inflammatory false reports; accusing the company of selling expired products, and then planting expired products on store shelves; and organizing public demonstrations both inside and outside of stores, with the aim of disrupting and discouraging business, among other actions.

    The union has called the defamation suit "baseless."

    Chandler, Ariz.-based Bashas' has been dealing with the union since it acquired nine unionized Arizona Supermarkets and ABCO stores, one of which it has since closed.

    When contacted by Progressive Grocer, Jim McLaughlin, president of the Local 99 chapter of UFCW, said: "The workers at Bashas' deserve more from management than blaming the
    union. Many of these workers have a family to support and the best this company could do by them was to give them a 'pink slip' with notice of just a day or two."
     
    The last time Bashas' laid off workers was summer 2008, when it eliminated the jobs of 203 associates.

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