September, 2011

Japanese grocery chain to resume U.S. beef sales

From Meatingplace.com
By Richard Smith on 9/29/2011

TOKYO — The Inageya grocery store chain will resume U.S. beef sales Oct. 10 on a trial basis, a company official told Meatingplace.

An as-yet-undetermined number of Inageya’s 127 outlets will sell chuck rib, chuck eye roll and strip loin for yakiniku (Korean-style barbecued beef), company meat department general manager Tokio Iso said.

Amount of volumes to be purchased have also not been decided yet, Iso said. “We will see how well sales go so we can determine how we will proceed in handling U.S. beef in the future,” he said.

Since a December 2003 ban on U.S. beef because of BSE, Inageya has not handled the meat despite its import resumption in August 2006. The only beef imports the chain presently offers are from Canada and Australia.

Based in Tokyo Prefecture, the company also has outlets in the neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama.

U.S. Meat Export Federation Japan’s senior director for trade projects and trade services told Meatingplace his office will support the promotion with special stickers for meat trays and materials for shelf decoration.

“We are delighted to see the resumption of sales of U.S. beef products by a leading regional chain that used to be an active user of our products,” Susumu Harada said.

Nebraska Prime Group Workers Say Union Yes with UFCW Local 293

Two hundred and sixty conventional and kosher beef slaughter workers at Nebraska Prime Group in Hastings, Neb., have exercised their right to join UFCW Local 293. Nebraska Prime Group recognized the workers’ choice for a real voice on the job after an overwhelming majority of workers at the beef processing plant signed cards to show their desire for UFCW representation.

“Our victory is important for me and my family,” said David Pettit, a plant employee and father of three children. “We can work for better benefi ts at my plant and that means I can take better care of my three kids and cover them on my insurance. I’m so glad that Nebraska Prime let us choose a card check process. It speaks a lot for their character and it makes me have more respect for where I work.”

Key issues for bargaining will include Sunday work due to the kosher work schedule, benefits and wages.

UFCW MEMBERS REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT WITH SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GROCERS

(Los Angeles, Calif.) – Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union working at Ralphs (Kroger), Vons (Safeway) and Albertsons (Supervalu) in Southern California reached a tentative agreement today with the companies.

The tentative agreement was reached after 8 months of negotiating and strong involvement and activism by the 62,000 grocery workers and widespread support of customers and allies across the region.  The UFCW is grateful to Scot Beckenbaugh, Deputy Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, for his guidance through the bargaining process.

UFCW members will vote on the proposals in meetings over the coming week. The agreement increases wages, protects health care and pension benefits throughout the life of the 3-year contract.

The new contract, once ratified, will cover 62,000 UFCW grocery workers, the largest bargaining unit in the UFCW.  An additional 28,000 grocery workers at regional chains like Stater Brothers, Food 4 Less, Gelson’s Market and other markets are covered by the successful resolution of the Southern California contract.  The contract covering 45,000 grocery workers in Northern California expires in October.