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CHICAGO -- As the fate of Dominick's hangs in the balance, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union is alleging that its corporate owner, Safeway, did not give union-friendly Yucaipa Companies LLC a fair crack at buying 113 Chicago-area Dominick's grocery stores, Knight-Ridder's Tribune Business News service reports.
In a grievance filed last week, UFCW locals 881 and 1546 allege Safeway violated a Nov. 19, 2002, agreement by failing to consider Yucaipa's offer for Dominick's on the same basis as those of other potential buyers.
According to a statement released yesterday by the labor union, "The unions are seeking an order through arbitration directing Safeway to open the sale process in good faith so that all potential buyers, including those who will agree to recognize the unions, will be treated fairly and the same as all other comparable and similarly qualified buyers."
Safeway has been trying to unload Dominick's since last year. In November, the UFCW locals agreed to a contract extension to give Safeway time to complete a sale. That extension expired July 26. Since then, union members have been working under day-to-day extensions of the contract.
Safeway spokesman Brian Dowling was quoted in a local paper on Monday as saying that Safeway disputes the union's contentions about the Yucaipa bid and will respond to the union's grievance.
"We conducted a fair and appropriate bidding process and selected a winning bidder as part of that process," Dowling said. "Was Yucaipa considered and were they treated fairly? I can answer yes, they were."