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    Teamsters, Coalition Claims Victory in Fight to Bring Kroger Jobs Back to Michigan

    DETROIT -- Families of 180 Michigan Teamsters who were laid-off work from the Livonia Kroger warehouse have benefited from a cooperative effort of a coalition comprised of local community, religious, and labor organizations here that fought to keep the company from sending the jobs out of the state.

    DETROIT -- Families of 180 Michigan Teamsters who were laid-off work from the Livonia Kroger warehouse have benefited from a cooperative effort of a coalition comprised of local community, religious, and labor organizations here that fought to keep the company from sending the jobs out of the state.

    The Teamsters said the decision saves the jobs of the workers who are members of Local 337 in Detroit, and secures the employment of the rest of the warehouse's 500 workers whose jobs were in jeopardy after a July 2006 decision by Kroger to transfer their jobs from Livonia to a Delaware, Ohio, warehouse.
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    The "Don't Shop Kroger" campaign launched by a coalition spearheaded by the Teamsters was instrumental in raising awareness of the workers' situation and garnered widespread media coverage. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm was a strong and vocal supporter of the effort.

    "When will companies like Kroger understand that its productivity, its profits and its success depends directly on its investment in the workers it employs and the communities it services?" said Teamsters general president Jim Hoffa. "Kroger's shoppers in Detroit include the family and friends of these 500 workers and other working men and women who have experienced the effect of outsourcing in Michigan. It is their voice, their passion that held this company in check."

    Urged by the coalition to consider alternatives to outsourcing, Kroger has now assigned the servicing from up to 26 stores in Toledo to the Livonia facility, which previously had been serviced by the Delaware, Ohio facility.

    "This victory means that 180 Michigan families can celebrate the holidays instead of worrying about making the mortgage and covering health care bills during a layoff," said Bob Barnes, business agent and trustee for Teamsters Local 337. "Hundreds more won't have to worry that their jobs may be next on the chopping block. Together, we demonstrated to Kroger that it can't turn its back on the Michigan families that built its fortune."

    However, Barnes said, for now the coalition is not rescinding its call for Michigan shoppers to stop buying at Kroger, pending Kroger's assurance to union leaders that its long-range plan protects the Livonia jobs.

    The Teamsters Union represents more than 1.4 million laborers, including 8,500 sanitation workers employed by Waste Management, in the United States and Canada.

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