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UFCW USING ADDITIONAL CLAIMS TO EXPLOIT MEDIA, FOOD LION SAYS

 UFCW USING ADDITIONAL CLAIMS TO EXPLOIT MEDIA, FOOD LION SAYS
 SALISBURY, N.C., Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Food Lion, Inc., issued the following:
 Food Lion, Inc., the supermarket giant which has been the target of an eight-year organizing fight with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union, announced today that it was expecting the UFCW to file an additional 23 claims against it for alleged wage and hour violations. A Food Lion spokesman said today that the filing with the Department of Labor is expected at any time, and that it will almost entirely be made up of claims by former, not present, Food Lion employees. Similar charges have been filed previously as part of the campaign by the UFCW to pressure Food Lion management into embracing the UFCW union.
 Vince Watkins, a Food Lion vice president, said: "The UFCW is using these charges to get the maximum press attention. Why doesn't the UFCW announce how few of their charges actually stand up in court?" Watkins' remark was a reference to a federal court case in which less than one-half of the original number of claims were eventually judged to have merit.
 For example, in the Carter case, filed in April of 1989, the UFCW made a massive effort to solicit claims against Food Lion, including the use of an advertised 800 number. Despite UFCW boasts of receiving a "flood of calls," only 11 claims were filed. Of these, one was thrown out because the claimant had never worked for Food Lion, and five more were dismissed summarily. Food Lion chose to settle the other five for a combined total of $3,000, in order to avoid the cost of litigation, which would have been substantially more.
 "It is important to remember how low the UFCW's success rate is when they actually have to prove their cases. It's easy to run around calling press conferences to announce the sky is falling, but you lose credibility when it doesn't," Watkins noted.
 Watkins pointed out that the anticipated filing will be the UFCW's fourth filing in 13 months. "Each of their filings has had less claimants, and fewer current employees. The UFCW has less and less to shout about, and they didn't have much in the first place." Watkins noted that even if all 310 of the UFCW's claims (which includes the 23 anticipated, but as yet unfiled, claims) were eventually proven valid in court, this would still amount to less than two-tenths of 1 percent of the pool of current and former Food Lion employees for the past three years (310 of 170,000 employees, or 0.00182 percent).
 The UFCW filed its original claim on behalf of 152 present and former Food Lion employees in September of 1991. Since then, the UFCW has made supplemental filings in February 1992 of 76 claimants and July 1992 of 52 claimants. The last two filings were apparently timed to build interest in congressional hearings which were held in March and September of this year.
 The hearings were held before a congressional subcommittee charged with investigating allegations of wage and hour violations. Food Lion officials appeared at both hearings and restated Food Lion's firm policy against so-called "off-the-clock" work, noting that 20 store managers had been terminated for allowing such violations.
 Watkins noted that the UFCW is probably timing the filing of the latest claims to coincide with an upcoming story to be broadcast on ABC's "PrimeTime Live" tabloid show. An independent accountability study, the Government Accountability Project, documented that ABC has a history of collaborating with the UFCW. It is widely believed that ABC will target the alleged "off-the-clock" abuses which have been the subject of the UFCW's filings. Food Lion has sued ABC for allegedly allowing a "PrimeTime Live" producer to falsify a Food Lion employment application in order to stage and videotape a segment for the story.
 "I wouldn't be surprised if the UFCW has coordinated it's filings with 'PrimeTime Live,' in order for Diane Sawyer to announce that new charges have just been filed as the story airs. It is a way of reviving an old, stale story," Watkins stated. "I guarantee that ABC will gloss over the fact that few UFCW claims are ever substantiated, or that Food Lion has always had several applicants for each of our jobs, recession or no recession. If we are such exploiters, then how does ABC explain this?" Watkins continued.
 The UFCW has recently begun efforts to build a massive multi-million dollar war chest, which will be raised from increased member dues. UFCW efforts to interest Food Lion employees into joining the union have met with little success. Food Lion management has repeatedly stated that this is because of its superior pay and benefit plans, noting that it is common for UFCW members at competing chains to leave UFCW-supported grocery chains to come to work for Food Lion.
 -0- 10/30/92
 /CONTACT: Pamela Kostmayer-Jones or Jackie Clark for Food Lion, 703-519-0800/
 (FDLNB) CO: Food Lion, Inc.; United Food and Commercial Workers Union ST: North Carolina IN: RET SU:


MH -- DC013 -- 7136 10/30/92 13:14 EST
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Date:Oct 30, 1992
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