H.T. Hackney To Lay OffWorkers In Florida DCs
H.T. Hackney Co. is laying off 40 workers at its Miami distribution center after losing a grocery-distribution contract for Walgreen Co., according to reports.
The distributor also recently said it was cutting staff at its Tampa, FL, warehouse, according to the South Florida Business Journal. Neither Walgreen Co. nor H.T. Hackney, which is based in Knoxville, TN, could be reached for comment.
The Business Journal said a notice filed with the state indicated that it would stop distributing to Walgreen stores on Aug. 18, with the layoffs to follow. A union does not represent the affected employees, of whom 13 are in transportation, 20 in warehouse operations, two in sales and five in offices.
The distributor filed a WARN (Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notice with the state of Florida on July 13 warning of mass layoffs as a result of a lost contract.
“We were recently notified that Walgreens is transitioning the grocery distribution of all of their stores in the southeast region to a different company,” said Kimberly York, a human resources representative for H.T. Hackney, in a letter to a state official.
H.T. Hackney also filed a WARN notice for its Tampa distribution center, which is also expected to undergo a mass layoff of 40 employees.
AWG Breaks GroundOn Louisiana Warehouse
Associated Wholesale Grocers (AGW) has broken ground on its seventh full-line grocery distribution center—a 720,000-square-foot warehouse in Pearl River, LA, 20 miles north of New Orleans—that will service retailers across the South from Houston to Tallahassee and into Georgia.
With over 720,000-square-foot of space, the newly created AWG Gulf Coast division will stock almost 19,000 SKUs. The facility is scheduled to open in January 2013 and will service Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida—states in which the cooperative already has 40 members operating approximately 135 stores. Most of them are currently served out of the AWG facility in Southaven, MS, located 400 miles from Pearl River.
AWG says it expects the facility to enable customers to save more than $6 million annually in freight costs, as well as to provide better availability of fresh foods and locally grown products.
“We’re excited about the future of our new Gulf Coast division and the potential for growth and expansion by our members in this dynamic region of the country,” says Jerry Garland, AWG president and chief executive officer. “As a cooperative, we have a responsibility to our members to provide the best available food and related products at the lowest possible cost and this new division will significantly lower the cost of groceries to member stores and expand our abilities to further achieve that goal for our members and future members in this region.”
AWG plans to employ 290 new employees in the distribution center.
Jewel Food Stores Cited For Safety Violations At Illinois Warehouse
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Jewel Food Stores Inc. in Franklin Park, IL, for 13 safety violations after an evaluation of the company’s process safety management system was found lacking several required elements for handling ammonia refrigeration systems used in the food warehouse/distribution center. Proposed penalties total $75,000.
“Developing and following written procedures for the handling of substances like ammonia is critical to employees’ safety,” says Diane Turek, OSHA’s director for the Chicago North Area Office, Des Plaines, IL. “Employers are responsible for knowing what hazards exist in their workplaces and following OSHA’s regulations.”
One repeat violation was cited for failing to develop and implement written operating procedures consistent with process safety information that provided clear instruction for safely conducting activities related to each covered process. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Jewel Food Stores was cited for the same violation in March 2010.