Media Release

October 1, 2003

Statement From:

The Greater St. Louis Food Employers Council

Michael Kaemmerer

Spokesperson for The Greater St. Louis Food Employers Council

Over the next few days, Local 655 associates will be reviewing the merits of the tentative proposal agreed to and approved by union leadership. While we are hopeful for a good outcome following the strike vote on Oct. 7, we are prepared to operate our stores and continue serving our customers in the event of a work stoppage.

This is a comprehensive contract and associates have had very little time to study the offer. We believe that, with further review, they will be able to see the merits of the contract. The terms specified in this tentative agreement make this the best grocery worker contract in St. Louis and among the best in the entire Midwest. This agreement is the Council's final offer.

The proposal includes quality family healthcare for all current associates working at least 25 hours per week (16 hours for individual coverage). In addition, the total compensation package includes pay raises in the second, third and fourth years; more guaranteed full-time positions; vacation flexibility and two sick days.

Skyrocketing healthcare costs, a slow economy and unprecedented competition from non-union, non-traditional (warehouse, discounters, dollar and convenience stores), retailers pose a triple threat to grocers, not just in St. Louis, but across the nation.

It is imperative that these contract issues be addressed right now. We believe this contract will help close the gap in healthcare costs. In addition, it will go a long way toward ensuring job security for all associates by enabling all three companies to compete more effectively for customers.

# # #