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UFCW LOCALS 539 AND 876 RELEASE LETTER DELIVERED TO JOEL GREENISEN, PRESIDENT OF KROGER'S MICHIGAN MARKETING AREA

 UFCW LOCALS 539 AND 876 RELEASE LETTER DELIVERED TO JOEL GREENISEN,
 PRESIDENT OF KROGER'S MICHIGAN MARKETING AREA
 MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich., May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by United Food & Commercial Workers Locals 539 and 876:
 UFCW Locals 539 and 876 today released the following letter that was hand-delivered this afternoon to Joel Greenisen, president of Kroger's Michigan Marketing Area:
 Dear Mr. Greenisen:
 The truth is apparently not in you.
 Your advertisement in this morning's newspapers is a lie and an insult to the Kroger employees who are members of UFCW Locals 539 and 876.
 The events of Friday are very fresh in our minds, so we will recount them for you. Shortly before noon, your labor relations director called us for a meeting and asked if the federal mediator could attend. Of course, we agreed, even though Kroger refused our offer to have our rank-and-file Negotiating Committees present for the meeting.
 Before you even set foot in Local 876's offices, we received word that Kroger had scheduled a "major announcement" for the news media at 3:30, and that store managers had been summoned to Livonia to pick up materials to deliver to strikers. We knew then that Kroger was trying to set up the elected union leadership for a carefully scripted public relations gimmick, rather than any serious proposal to end the strike.
 This became even more clear when Kroger refused to delay meeting for 15 minutes so Local 539's attorney and chief negotiator could be present.
 During our meeting, we informed Kroger that, in our opinion, the proposal was not one that union members could accept. We did, however, state the union was willing to immediately reenter negotiations on the basis of this new proposal, and that our Negotiating Committees would be ready within two hours. Kroger refused.
 The federal mediator even said he would make himself available all weekend if necessary. But you, after a recess to consult Cincinnati, again refused.
 On Saturday morning, the Negotiating Committee for Locals 539 and 876 met jointly to consider the Kroger proposal. The Committee unanimously adopted the attached statement. As you will read, the Committee stated that it did not see anything in the proposal to make it worthy of a vote of the members, but asked our Advisory Committee, which also met Saturday morning, to return to the picket lines with an analysis of the Kroger proposal to discuss it with our members.
 The Advisory Committee, which represents every segment of Kroger employees in every store, will report to the Negotiating Committee at 10 a.m. Tuesday to give their advice as to whether or not the members desire a vote on the proposal.
 It may come as a surprise to you, but the UFCW operates under democratic principles, as demonstrated by this extensive effort to determine if the members want to vote or not.
 Judging from our telephone calls and meetings with rank-and-file members, Kroger has not fooled the vast majority of employees with its phony return-to-work and continue-negotiating ploy. Our members know the critical significance of the July 5th date. That would enable Kroger to get past two major profit-rich holiday weekends and into the traditionally slow pre-Labor Day period, where it could wait out any resumed strike with economic impunity.
 Our members know the Union negotiated for more than three months past the expiration of our contract in hopes of reaching an agreement without a work stoppage. Working-while-negotiating didn't work then, and Kroger has given our members nothing to indicate that it would work between Tuesday and July 5.
 Still, you will get your answer Tuesday, AFTER we have heard from the Advisory Committee as to the wishes of the members. All you will need to do is look out your window in Laurel Park.
 There are three major stumbling blocks to building the trust and mutual respect necessary at the bargaining table to achieve a settlement:
 1) The inexperience of the Kroger negotiators in charge from December to April. Instead of "Amateur Hour," it was "Amateur Marathon on a Treadmill to Nowhere." We respectfully urge you to get experienced negotiators to represent Kroger and to give them the authority to settle this dispute.
 2) The miscalculations of you and your executives that our members would accept Kroger's so-called "final offer," and if not, that they wouldn't vote to strike. Indeed, you admitted "errors" in our Friday meeting. You must know that you also miscalculated Kroger's ability to threaten, cajole, hoodwink, and intimidate our members into breaking their own strike. In short, Mr. Greenisen, you, your letters, and your ads have become a major issue and a stumbling block to settlement.
 3) Kroger's blatant unfair labor practices, including: illegal direct dealing with employees; threats of retaliation; giving the proposal to our members before presenting it to the elected Union officers; refusing to bargain over the terms of Friday's public relations ploy; and interfering with our rights to petition the shareholders' meeting on Thursday by having your attorneys subpoena union officials to attend a court hearing on that date. These unfair labor practices are prolonging the strike.
 In closing, Mr. Greenisen, your employees deeply resent your personal, counter-productive involvement in unnecessarily prolonging this dispute. We will personally deliver to you at 5 p.m. Tuesday the response of your employees. Instead of full-page newspaper ads that can't answer questions from employees or reporters, we cordially invite you to step before hundreds of employees, customers and the news media who will accompany us to hear for yourself the response of your employees, our members, to Kroger's phony public relations ploy of Friday.
 Sincerely,
 Ron Brown, Andy Johnson,
 President, UFCW Local 876 President, UFCW Local 539
 Attachment: Joint Negotiating Committee statement
 -0- 5/18/92
 /NOTE: For additional information or a letterhead copy of the letter, CONTACT: Leo Jennings of the UFCW, 313-585-9671/
 (KR) CO: United Food & Commercial Workers; The Kroger Company ST: Michigan IN: REA SU:


KK-SM -- DE027 -- 1456 05/18/92 15:46 EDT
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Date:May 18, 1992
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