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FOOD LION CONTINUES 'PAYJACKING,' EMPLOYEES TELL LABOR DEPARTMENT IN NEW FILING

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) issued the following:
 In a supplemental complaint filed today with the U.S. Department of Labor, Food Lion workers charged that the company is still working employees off the clock and altering or falsifying time records to avoid paying overtime.
 Today's supplemental complaint includes 21 new claims from present and former employees having termination dates as recent as November 1992 and is the fourth since the original was filed in September 1991. The employees are from different stores in seven states, including Oklahoma and Texas.
 United Food and Commercial Workers attorneys, as part of the union's worker advocacy project (W.A.P.), represent current and former Food Lion workers who are urging the Labor Department to file a class action suit against the chain on behalf of all employees who are not parties to previously filed lawsuits.
 In actions unrelated to the complaint filed with the Department of Labor, nearly 1,000 present or former Food Lion employees have joined 10 private suits that were consolidated in Federal court in North Carolina (In Re: FOOD LION EFFECTIVE SCHEDULING LITIGATION, No. 92-198-MISC-5-F).
 The government was also urged to adopt the "equitable tolling" argument advanced by the private attorneys who believe the statute of limitations stopped on July 25, 1989, when Food Lion signed a nationwide compliance agreement settling an earlier investigation of overtime violations.
 Food Lion, which previously refused to waive the statute of limitations, finally agreed on Dec. 21, 1992, to a six-month waiver while it seeks a settlement with the Labor Department.
 "Food Lion's bad faith compliance with the 1989 Compliance Agreement and its actions and policies since that time which have discouraged employees from filing claims or lawsuits to protect their rights" were cited as reasons for the request.
 The supplemental complaint presents additional evidence that Food Lion's management uses the company's "effective scheduling" system to coerce off-the-clock work, termed "payjacking" by the union.
 -- A former meat market manager in Winston-Salem, N.C., told his area supervisor on Oct. 23, 1992, that he was "off the clock and out of (Effective Scheduling) hours, and all he said was for me to stay until 7 p.m."
 -- After being told by his area supervisor to deliver thawed hams to other stores on his day off, a former Greensboro, N.C., meat market manager was suspended when another employee reported him for working off the clock. "When I came back from suspension (the area supervisor) said I was stupid to have been caught."
 -- A former head stocker from West Columbia, S.C., discovered his store manager had "clocked me out without my knowledge on numerous occasions" when he checked his hours following an on-the-job injury.
 Managers and supervisors know employees are working off the clock to meet "Effective Scheduling," Food Lion's system of assigning workloads, but look the other way, the complaint says. The complaint notes that supervisors' promotions and bonuses reflect whether employees working under them "meet Effective Scheduling."
 This brings the number of claims filed with the Labor Department to 334. This is the first complaint brought to the attention of Labor Department executives nominated by President Clinton.
 In response to the original complaint, the Labor Department initiated a nationwide investigation of Food Lion and interviewed more than 4,000 individuals. Labor Department officials told a subcommittee of the House Government Operations Committee in September that "substantial" overtime and child labor violations had been uncovered in its investigation.
 -0- 2/24/93
 /CONTACT: Greg Denier of the UFCW, 202-466-1591/
 (FDLN)


CO: U.S. Department of Labor; Food Lion; United Food and Commercial
 Workers Union ST: District of Columbia IN: RET SU:


TW -- DC021 -- 0094 02/24/93 16:58 EST
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Date:Feb 24, 1993
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