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FOOD LION REPLIES TO CRITICS AT CONGRESSIONAL HEARING

 FOOD LION REPLIES TO CRITICS AT CONGRESSIONAL HEARING
 WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Food Lion issued the


following:
 At a press conference today, prior to testifying before the Employment and Housing Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives' Government Operations Committee, representatives of Food Lion, Inc., a supermarket chain based in Salisbury, N.C., strongly denied charges of wage-and-hour violations, as well as other allegations leveled recently by unions, the media and some members of Congress against the corporation. Speaking on behalf of Food Lion, in a follow-up to an earlier March 25 hearing, vice presidents John Watkins and Vince Watkins enumerated several developments which have occurred since the previous hearing.
 John Watkins stated: "We are obviously concerned about this report from the Department of Labor and take it very seriously. It should be pointed out, however, that these findings by the department are preliminary based upon evidence presented on only one side of the issue. These findings by the department are simply that the case should proceed further, including possible judicial action. At this forum for the first time both sides of the case would be presented for decision. Rather than predeciding these issues, we would all be better served to let the system work and see how these claims are resolved after both sides have been heard." Watkins went on to say: "The Department of Labor has informed us they only have an additional 50-250 claimants over what they had already been given by the UFCW. This is out of over 170,000 potential claimants among Food Lion's past and present employees."
 Vince Watkins made mention of the ABC Television Network and its "PrimeTime Live" program in a reference to a lawsuit filed last week by Food Lion against ABC, its parent company Capital Cities, and a producer of its "PrimeTime Live" show, Lynn Litt. In its suit Food Lion alleged that Litt, acting with the knowledge and assent of ABC, intentionally hid her affiliation with ABC in order to get herself hired to work in a Food Lion store's meat department. The suit further alleges that Litt, who possibly was also acting at the behest of a hostile labor union, staged a scene supposedly demonstrating a lack of sanitation in the Food Lion meat department, in order to film the scene for use in an upcoming "PrimeTime Live" story on Food Lion.
 Food Lion's suit specifies a total of five claims for relief against the three defendants, including counts of intentional misrepresentation, deceit, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and unfair and disruptive trade practices.
 Food Lion's belief in the involvement of a hostile labor union in the actions by ABC stems from the 8-year campaign which has been waged against Food Lion by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union. In reference to this conflict, Vince Watkins again mentioned the UFCW "corporate campaign" strategy adopted by the union in the wake of the overwhelming rejection of the UFCW by Food Lion employees. John Watkins provided detailed testimony about the UFCW corporate campaign in his earlier testimony in March.
 Corporate campaigns are a strategy used by unions when they seek to go over the heads of employees who have rejected them, and force management to take favorable actions toward union organizers in order to make employees more open to union membership. Often such campaigns have been accompanied by anti-management media stories and pressure by sympathetic members of Congress. In extreme cases, acts of sabotage and outright violence have also been involved. Vince Watkins' testimony cited a recent document of UFCW Local 400 which detailed its chronology for the steps its corporate campaign would take, including the earlier March 25 congressional hearing before the Employment and Housing Subcommittee.
 In concluding his statement, Vince Watkins made mention of last week's meeting by UFCW Local 400 in Washington, at which the union local voted to assess its members additional dues in order to raise $2 million in three months for use specifically against Food Lion and Price Club. By some calculations, this would effectively cancel the wage hikes won by the union in recent negotiations. The UFCW Local 400 corporate campaign budget last year exceeded $5 million according to information the union provided its members last week. "It is absolutely astonishing that the UFCW would spend this amount of money to try to keep the Washington/Baltimore metropolitan area the most expensive grocery market in the United States," Watkins said.
 -0- 9/22/92
 /CONTACT: Jackie Clark or Pamela Kostmayer-Jones for Food Lion, 703-519-0800/ CO: Food Lion; United Food and Commercial Workers ST: District of Columbia IN: RET SU:


MH -- DC015 -- 2133 09/22/92 11:27 EDT
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Date:Sep 22, 1992
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