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    News and Updates

    Bruno's Inc.

April 28, 2009

Food and Commercial Workers Applaud Decision to Hold Bruno

BIRMINGHAM, AL – Today’s decision by US Bankruptcy Judge Benjamin Cohen to uphold the contract between Bruno’s Inc. and more than 2,000 workers represented by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Union 1657 opened the door to a fresh start for the Bruno’s name. Lone Star Funds, a private-equity firm based in New York that purchased Bruno’s in the late 1990s, had asked Judge Cohen to void the contract, which would have enabled a new owner to take over the stores without honoring the commitments made to thousands of hourly employees.
“We are delighted with Judge Cohen’s decision, which will help keep thousands of good jobs in Alabama and Florida,” said Elaise Fox, president of UFCW Local 1657. “By requiring Bruno’s to honor its promises, the court ensured that Bruno’s workers will be essential players in the revitalization of this celebrated company.”
Bruno’s assets are scheduled to be sold at auction on April 29th. Last week, members of UFCW Local 1657 took steps to authorize a strike in the event that Judge Cohen voided the contract. Today, the union announced that, while many members supported the authorization, no strike would be called.
Fox continued: “The company’s attempts to evade accountability made perfectly clear that Bruno’s workers needed to look after themselves. Bruno’s workers were prepared to do exactly that, with many of them supporting a strike if the contract was voided. Fortunately, such serious measures weren’t necessary, and UFCW members will stay on the job serving Bruno’s customers.”
UFCW Local 1657, based in Birmingham, represents more than 3,500 grocery and health care workers in Alabama and Florida.
March 11, 2009


Company’s refusal to engage in productive negotiations or identify potential buyers raises serious questions about Bruno’s restructuring and its commitment to Alabama communities 

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) released the following statement today following Bruno’s continued unwillingness to fully disclose restructuring plans to its workers:

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and UFCW Local 1657 have repeatedly reached out to Bruno’s Supermarket’s management about working to preserve and protect good jobs in Alabama. We have repeatedly said that we are willing to sit down with any potential buyer to discuss plans to restructure the company. Our number one priority is to have these stores succeed.

“All across the country, we have worked with our employers to navigate the current economic situation. But the way Bruno’s is acting is not only unfair, it goes against the core values of our state.

“We are not going to sign away our future because some New York restructuring firm says that we should. They have refused to engage in constructive discussions. They have refused to identify any potential buyers. They are basically saying trust us, we know what is best for you. But these are the same Wall Street financial wizards who got us into this economic mess.

“After years of mismanagement, Bruno’s advisers are now trying to blame workers for the company’s mistakes. Many of these workers have put in decades of service at Bruno’s. That service should be respected. The contracts these workers negotiated are in line with grocery workers we represent across the country. It allows them to provide for their loved ones and to give their children a better life. Why should Alabama families deserve any less than other grocery workers across the country?

“We suggest that if the financial firm Bruno’s hired to “turnaround” the company doesn’t understand this, they should turnaround and head back to Wall Street because their actions do not reflect Alabama’s Main Street values.

“It is unfortunate that Bruno’s seems to be behaving more like Bear Stearns than a responsible Alabama employer. Whenever they are ready to sit down and have a productive conversation about how we can protect Alabama jobs and communities, and can get Bruno’s stores back on track, we are ready and willing to get it done.

“All we are asking is for them to be forthright, honest and transparent so we can do what is in the best interest of the company and the community.”