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MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. - In the wake of a recent Detroit newspaper article speculating on the future of Farmer Jack stores in Michigan, a local labor union here said it is developing a strategy to protect the chain's organized membership, and is actively enlisting the assistance of its labor and community partners in the effort.
"Since the publication of The Detroit News article, members and others have turned to the local with their unanswered questions, looking for more information regarding a potential sale at Farmer Jack," said Roger Robinson, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers' Local 876.
"Unfortunately, we don't have much news to share. Not only did A&P fail to go on the record with the media, the company has not been very forthcoming with the union regarding the stores' future. Understandably, our members working at Farmer Jack are very frustrated. While we share in the membership's frustration, this type of secrecy is to be expected when a company is shopping for buyers," Robinson said.
While Robinson said Local 876 believes A&P is interested in selling its Michigan Farmer Jack stores and is actively taking bids from potential buyers, the union has no way to gauge when this process began or how far it has progressed.
"The fact that A&P wants to sell Farmer Jack Michigan is not news," said Robinson, noting that with the recent expiration of the company's agreement to operate 60 stores, "We're not surprised that A&P is taking bids on the stores. As expected, A&P is testing the waters. If they receive a good offer for some or all of the stores, I believe they will take it."
Robinson further said he is also "very concerned about how advanced their discussions are regarding a potential sale. I suspect that A&P has been actively pursuing a deal to spin off Farmer Jack for quite some time and could be closer to reaching a deal than anyone is letting on."
Local 876 represents approximately 5,100 Farmer Jack workers at 66 locations in southeastern Michigan.