Almacs Employees Vote To Support Takeover Of Grocery Store Chain
WARWICK, R.I. (AP) _ Seeking to avoid wage cuts, employees of Rhode Island’s largest grocery store chain voted Sunday to approve a New York supermarket chain’s takeover of their company.
Almacs filed for protection from creditors last year and hopes to emerge from debt by having workers agree to take a 17.5 percent pay cut. Meanwhile, Victory, a supermarket chain headquartered in Utica, N.Y., is trying to buy Almacs, and promises wage increases to Almacs employees.
By a 711-345 vote, workers from the 2,200 member- United Food and Commercial Workers Local 328 approved the takeover approval.
″This is a vote of confidence in Victory and showed the lack of support for the deal offered by Almacs,″ said union Secretary-Treasurer George Tennian. ″Victory isn’t the greatest deal, but it’s better than Almacs.″
Victory has offered to buy the Almacs chain and sink $5 million into its operation. A chain that operates mostly in upstate New York, Victory has offered increase wages beginning in 1996. Health benefits would not decrease under the proposal, Tennian said.
On the other hand, Victory wants the right to fire 170 employees or reduce them to part-time work. It agreed to pay $10,000 severance to any employee laid off.
Almacs’ deal offered to give workers more say in the running of the company in return for wage cuts.
Victory must still sell its proposal to current Almacs owners as well as Almacs creditors. The two chains have been discussing such a deal for weeks, Tennian said.