Portland expands plastic bag ban
Portland, Ore. — The city council of Portland, Ore., voted to expand the city’s one-year old plastic bag ban, voting 5-0 to phase out plastic checkout bags at an estimated 5,000 restaurants and retailers.
The ban will impact retailers larger than 10,000 -sq.-ft. on March 1, 2013, and the remaining retailers on October 1, 2013. Portland’s 2011 rule affected fewer than 200 businesses.
Retailers will still be able to provide plastic bags for bulk items, produce, meats, dry cleaning and prescription drugs.
Mark Daniels, chair of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, an organization representing the United States’ plastic bag manufacturing and recycling sector, which employs 30,800 workers in 349 communities across the nation, issued the following statement in response to the vote:
"Portland residents will be forced to purchase even more reusable bags which cannot be recycled, are predominately imported from China, and have been proven to harbor dangerous bacteria. Those interested in real solutions to reducing litter and protecting the environment should pursue scientifically sound, common sense policies – ones that encourage a comprehensive statewide recycling solution that address all forms of plastic bags, sacks and wraps – instead of targeting one product that makes up a fraction of a percent of the waste stream."
Supervalu in pay freeze at headquarters
Minneapolis — Supervalu on Friday said it would implement a pay freeze for all employees at its corporate headquarters and said it would also reduce or suspend matching contributions to workers’ 401(k) plans, effective next year.
“As we have stated during our last two earnings calls, we need to immediately take costs out of the business in order to fund our growth plans. As a result, Supervalu today announced changes to team member compensation and benefits, as they are the largest administrative expense,” the company said in a statement.
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Report: Wal-Mart files unfair U.S. labor practice charge against union
Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Thursday filed an unfair labor practice charge against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, requesting that the National Labor Relations Board halt alleged unlawful attempts to disrupt Wal-Mart’s business.
Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar told Reuters that the retailer cannot allow the UFCW to “continue to intentionally seek to create an environment that could directly and adversely impact our customers and associates. If they do, they will be held accountable,” he said.
The move comes week before what is projected to be the largest organized action against Wal-Mart, as a small group of Walmart workers prepare to strike on Black Friday. Numerous other protests and rallies have taken place outside Walmart stores around the country, as workers push for better wages, increased benefits and improved working conditions.
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