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UFCW LOCAL 876 ESTIMATES KROGER SALES VOLUME DOWN DRASTICALLY AT STRUCK STORES

 UFCW LOCAL 876 ESTIMATES KROGER SALES VOLUME DOWN DRASTICALLY
 AT STRUCK STORES
 MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 876:
 Despite its expensive ad campaigns and giveaway gimmicks, and contrary to reports issued by Kroger, sales volume at struck stores remains 80 percent to 85 percent below normal levels.
 The rationale behind the company's misleading statements about sales volume is easy to understand. First, Kroger wants to demoralize the striking 7,000 Local 876 members it has not been able to entice across the picket lines. Second, it is trying to reassure shoppers who may be wary of the condition of perishable items like meat, milk and produce that sales are brisk enough to ensure rapid turnover of these products. A peek into the dumpster behind any Kroger store will provide ample evidence that such is not the case.
 The union used information gained from the following sources to calculate its estimate of sales:
 1.) Our members. Because most have spent many years working in the stores they now picket, they are able to accurately gauge sales patterns and volumes.
 2.) Vendors. We receive daily reports from vendors relative to the amount of merchandise they are placing in the Kroger stores.
 3.) Sales volume at competing stores. The strike has been a boon to competing retailers. All have reported large increases in sales since the strike began and they have seen no significant drop-off as the work stoppage has dragged on. Obviously, this new business is coming their way from one source, the tens of thousands of customers who refuse to cross Local 876 picket lines.
 4.) Members who have returned to work. Some Local 876 members who have made the unfortunate decision to abandon the picket lines and return to work are, in what may be an attempt to salve their conscience, providing the union with information about sales volumes both in individual stores and throughout the company.
 5.) Other unions. The continued layoff of drivers and warehouse personnel by both Kroger's main and secondary suppliers is a concrete indicator that the company has not, as it claims, recaptured a substantial amount of its sales volume.
 Contrary to what so-called "analyst" Ryan Mathews of Grocery Marketing told the Detroit Free Press, our ability to hold Kroger's volume to these low levels more than two weeks into the strike, despite the fact the company has spent more than $300,000 in its attempts to negotiate with our members and the general public in the newspapers, is an outstanding achievement. The members of Local 876 are pleased with the overwhelming support demonstrated by the shopping public. There are no indications it is wavering.
 Local 876 draws two troubling conclusions from the manner in which Kroger is now operating. First, the huge amount of money the company is spending on its daily newspaper ads combined with the hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise it has both given away as bait to potential customers and thrown away as it rots or spoils means the company is hemorrhaging millions of dollars each week of the strike.
 Second, those very dollars amount to more than enough money to finance the reasonable settlement Local 876 members seek. The time has come for Kroger to stop talking to itself in the newspapers and to start talking to its workers at the negotiating table.
 EVENT SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF APRIL 26
 Tuesday, April 28, 7:30 p.m. -- Meeting of Women's Committee at Local 876's union hall. The purpose of this committee is to reach out to women's organizations and ask for their support during the strike.
 Thursday, April 30, 7:30 p.m. -- Meeting of the Labor and Community Coalition in Support of the Kroger Strikers at the Local 876 union hall.
 Saturday, May 2, 10 a.m. -- Mass rally and demonstration in support of the Kroger strikers to begin outside the Local 876 union hall.
 -0- 4/28/92
 /NOTE: The week's events are open to all media. For further details on these or any other issues, CONTACT: Leo Jennings or Jill Christoff of UFCW Local 876, 313-585-9761/
 (KR) CO: Kroger Company ST: Michigan IN: REA SU:


SB -- DE017 -- 3804 04/28/92 12:30 EDT
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Date:Apr 28, 1992
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