C&S Wholesalers acquisition has Maryland workers on edge



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Keene-based C&S Wholesale Grocers' impending takeover of a food distribution facility in Maryland has hundreds of union workers there nervous about potential layoffs.Jessup Logistics LLC, an affiliate of C&S, is slated to take over the dry-grocery operations of Giant Food's facility in Jessup, Md., this month.The terms of the takeover state that Jessup Logistics will adopt the labor agreements currently in place with the three unions that cover associates at the dry-goods warehouse.One of the unions, Teamsters Local 730, represents 341 full-time and about 140 part-time employees at the facility, the union president told The Gazette of Maryland. He said two other unions have members at the warehouse, but each has fewer than 10 employees.Giant Food of Landover, Md., is one of the leading supermarket chains in the Washington, D.C., area, operating 180 stores in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware. The chain - which shares a logo with sister company Stop & Shop - announced last year it would transfer its dry-good operations to the C&S affiliate to make its supply chain more efficient.The agreed-upon union contracts, however, are slated to expire in May, and mass layoffs last month in New Jersey by another C&S affiliate has unionized workers worried about their jobs and the future of the facility, reported the Baltimore Sun.The union is concerned that when C&S takes over, it will push for large concessions, and if those aren't met, it will move its operations to another facility that requires fewer workers, the Sun reported.Last month, C&S affiliate Woodbridge Logistics shut down six warehouses and laid off about 1,100 employees in New Jersey. The shutdowns came in the wake of a bankruptcy filing by the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., the operator of Pathmark and A&P, chains to which Woodbridge was a distributor. Dozens of A&P and Pathmark stores are subsequently slated to close.Despite negotiations, an agreement was never reached between the New Jersey unions and Woodbridge Logistics. The company said it cost $46 million more per year to keep operations at the New Jersey locations than move them to other regional plants.As for Jessup, a C&S executive told the Baltimore Sun that talk of the facility's shutdown was "strictly speculative" and that C&S did not intend to negotiate in the media "before we even have operations of the plant."Founded in 1918, C&S Wholesale Grocers was ranked by Forbes in 2010 as the 10th-largest private company in the country. The Keene-based wholesaler distributes to 4,600 corporate customers from more than 50 distribution centers in 11 states, with customers that include Target, A&P, Shaw's and Stop & Shop. - KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

 

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