Kroger, Union Prepare for Strike
Cincinnati, The union representing nearly 11,000 workers in Kroger Co.’s home region revoked a contract extension on Monday, and both sides say they are getting ready for a strike.
Union negotiators reported late Monday that contract talks with Kroger Co. had broken off. The union cited a lack of significant progress on such issues as wages, health care and pensions.
Local 1099, which represents workers at Cincinnati-area Kroger supermarkets, said it has revoked a contract extension that was in effect until Nov. 3, and it will now expire at midnight Nov. 2. No more bargaining sessions are currently scheduled.
According to a report in the Cincinnati Enquirer, the grocer, in reaction to the fruitless negotiations, announced it would begin to pursue temporary workers.
“Because of the union actions we are preparing to recruit temporary workers,” said Kroger spokeswoman Meghan Glynn. “Plans are in place for a variety of scenarios. It’s unfortunate that it’s coming to this. We’ll do what we need to do to serve our customers.”
Recruiting temporary workers did not occur in California, Michigan or Texas during recent labor negotiations.
No future bargaining dates have been scheduled but a Kroger spokesperson said the company was willing to return to the bargaining table.
Gap: Report of Kids’ Sweatshop ‘Deeply Disturbing’
New York City, The president of Gap North America said a subcontractor accused of using child labor to sew Gap clothes in India has been fired and the Gap will not sell clothes made in the New Delhi sweatshop, according to a report on CNN.com.
“It’s deeply, deeply disturbing to all of us,” Gap President Marka Hansen said after watching video of the children at work. “I feel violated and I feel very upset and angry with our vendor and the subcontractor who made this very, very, very unwise decision.”
Hansen blamed the alleged abuse on an unauthorized subcontractor for one of its Indian vendors and said the subcontractor’s relationship with the Gap had been “terminated.”
She said the garments allegedly produced by the children represented a small portion of a single order placed with the vendor and that the clothes would not be sold in stores, the report said.
“We strictly prohibit the use of child labor,” Hansen said in a statement. “Gap has a history of addressing challenges like this head-on, and our approach to this situation will be no exception.
“In 2006, Gap Inc. ceased business with 23 factories due to code violations,” Hansen said. “We have 90 people located around the world whose job is to ensure compliance with our Code of Vendor Conduct.”
The report first appeared Sunday in Britain’s Observer newspaper.
Reebok Names President of North America Unit
Canton, Mass., Reebok International said Thursday the company has named Matt O’Toole as president of Reebok North America, the brand’s largest business unit.
Canton, Mass.-based Reebok said O’Toole, whose appointment becomes effective Nov. 5, is currently the president and CEO of Reebok-CCM Hockey, a wholly owned subsidiary of Reebok that is based in Montreal.
In his new role, O’Toole will be responsible for all of the region’s brand operations, including marketing, product merchandising, sales, finance, operations and owned retail stores. He will continue to report directly to Paul Harrington, president and CEO of Reebok.