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'PRIME TIME' STUNS AMERICAN CONSUMERS; C.U.E. CALLS FOR ACTION A.S.A.P.; FOOD LION SCAM EXPOSED BY WHISTLEBLOWERS

 'PRIME TIME' STUNS AMERICAN CONSUMERS; C.U.E. CALLS FOR ACTION
 A.S.A.P.; FOOD LION SCAM EXPOSED BY WHISTLEBLOWERS
 WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers United with Employees issued the following:
 Last night, ABC's "Prime Time Live" showed America a corporate policy called effective scheduling which causes problems even greater than Consumers United with Employees (C.U.E.) imagined. Diane Sawyer's report vindicates workers who are afraid of losing their jobs, indicts the company and should anger consumers.
 The ramifications of effective scheduling go beyond our most maddening nightmares. "Prime Time" proved that effective scheduling is a bad dream and that the pressures on workers are bad for consumers.
 Food Lion's everyday low prices turn out to be a bad deal and not the bargain they claim to be. Obviously their advertising prowess far exceeds their internal control policies and shoddy sanitation practices.
 C.U.E. today outlined an eight-point program to address consumer and worker concerns:
 1. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration should immediately launch a nationwide review of Food Lion's policies and practices.
 2. City, county and state health departments must investigate Food Lion operations, especially before the Thanksgiving holiday. The investigations must include in-depth interviews with current and former Food Lion workers. These interviews should not be in the presence of supervisors or company loss control personnel who have displayed a propensity for harassing and intimidating workers to prevent them from telling the real story.
 3. C.U.E. calls upon Food Lion to institute an immediate moratorium on the sale of products shown to be beyond freshness dates, tampered with or adulterated, until health departments can complete their investigations. These products include but are not limited to: pork sausage, chicken, barbecued gourmet chicken, cauliflower, sliced American cheese, pork chops, ground beef, lamb, eggs, yogurt, packaged cheese, packaged meat, sliced ham and turkey breast, meat loaf, deli salads and items, cubed pork and marinated deli chicken. All seafood sales should be halted until freshness can be guaranteed.
 4. Public health departments should immediately seize all unhealthy, unsanitary, undated and outdated products at Food Lion stores within their respective jurisdictions.
 5. USDA should immediately publicize its toll free number for shoppers to obtain information about meat products purchased at Food Lion.
 6. The Department of Labor (DOL) should immediately expedite and complete its investigation into effective scheduling and "off the clock" work at Food Lion. The DOL must demand that Food Lion wave the statute of limitations for recovery of back wages by employees who have filed wage and hour complaints. It is inexcusable for Food Lion to any longer claim ignorance or lack of responsibility. It is unconscionable for the DOL to allow further delay.
 7. Food Lion should be monitored by the congressional committee which has investigated company practices. Congress should protect whistleblowers and ensure that any workers who have been fired, suspended, harassed or intimidated be granted restitution by Food Lion.
 8. Food Lion should immediately stop using Clorox or any other chemicals to clean red meat, poultry and seafood. It should review and revise not just its policies, but more importantly, its practices.
 "Prime Time" vividly depicted two ways of doing things at Food Lion. One is company policy, the other is the way Food Lion makes sure things get done. Pressure from the company, not negligence on the part of workers, makes employees innocent victims. Management mandated practices camouflaged by corporate policies are another example of Food Lion providing themselves with "plausible deniability."
 For months, Food Lion has been telling the public not to worry and that there were no widespread problems with their operations. They said it was a plot by the union and that there was no truth to allegations of "off the clock" work by employees. The fact is, Food Lion workers are trapped in a "Catch 22" effective scheduling scam that forces them to choose between being fired and working "off the clock."
 Consumers and workers now know where blame rests and know who should be held accountable.
 C.U.E. is a group of consumer, worker, religious and other organizations formed to study "off the clock" work in American industry.
 "Prime Time's" expose linking effective scheduling to other consumer concerns compels C.U.E. to expand its focus to sanitation, dating and labeling of products, and freshness policies. These practices are associated with effective scheduling. C.U.E.'s emphasis will continue to be on "off the clock" work but we will not neglect our responsibility to address these associated problems.
 The bottom line is, the thirst for growth at any cost by Food Lion CEO Tom Smith is unappetizing to consumers and workers. Smith has led the charge by appearing in ambitious and aggressive ad campaigns which portray an image of the company that "Prime Time" harshly contradicted.
 Food Lion cannot blame consumers or the workers. "Prime Time" has shown that extra low prices may result in extra low standards. The company has learned nothing and deserves to be punished severely. The lying at Food Lion has to end.
 -0- 11/6/92
 /CONTACT: Keith Mestrich of Consumers United with Employees, 202-737-7200/ CO: Consumers United with Employees; Food Lion ST: District of Columbia IN: RET SU:


KD -- DC012 -- 8196 11/06/92 12:52 EST
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Date:Nov 6, 1992
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