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    UFCW Local Files Complaint Against Bashas' Healthcare Plan

    PHOENIX - United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99 here earlier this week filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board accusing Bashas' of shifting healthcare costs to employees without first negotiating those changes with union-represented employees - even though Bashas' said it has no union employees.

    PHOENIX - United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99 here earlier this week filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board accusing Bashas' of shifting healthcare costs to employees without first negotiating those changes with union-represented employees - even though Bashas' said it has no union employees.

    "We aren't a union shop, and our employees are not seeking union membership," Bashas' spokesperson Rob Johnson told Progressive Grocer. "They are very happy with the company and the benefits packages."

    Indeed, they apparently are--enough of them, at least, to get Bashas' named to the 2006 list of "Best Places to Work in the Valley," according to The Business Journal of Phoenix. Bashas' was the only food retailer on the list, which was released last month. The "Best Places to Work" list recognizes companies in the Phoenix metro area that provide a great work environment and benefits for employees, and is based on a survey of workers that is administered by a third party.

    The union, meanwhile said it is basing its case against the retailer's healthcare policies on Bashas' 1993 purchase of seven Arizona Supermarkets stores, and the purchase in 2001 of two ABCO Food Group stores, all of which had been union shops. While the union's complaint named various employee roles that would fall under union eligibility, it did not identify any actual Bashas' employees in any way.

    "The union has made previous claims with the NLRB, in which Bashas' has prevailed," said Johnson. "The overwhelming population of Bashas' employees is appreciative of the competitive wage and benefit package that they have. This is another attempt by the union to force us to deal with [it], against the wishes of our employees."

    Local 99 said it had established a Web site for Bashas' employees, bashasworkers.org http://www.bashasworkers.org/, so that they could keep up-to-date on the status of their health care costs, and any federal actions regarding the complaint. As of late last night, however, the Web site was apparently not operational.

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