A deal that
promised to put tiny grocery chain Haggen on the fast track to becoming a
regional power has instead resulted in a train wreck.
The Bellingham-based grocer filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, saying it would sell
off assets and reorganize around its profitable stores.
The move came after Haggen announced it would
close or sell 27 of the 146 stores it acquired from Albertsons and
Safeway (the closures didn’t include any of the three
Kitsap County Haggen stores). Haggen also
sued Albertsons for $1 billion claiming the grocery giant
sabotaged Haggen’s expansion effort.
All of this leaves Haggen’s roughly 11,000 employees in an
uncertain position. It’s likely more stores will be sold off
as part of the reorganization.
Hours have been cut at some Puget Sound stores,
the Seattle Times reported. The company owes employees $10
million in unpaid salaries, accrued wages and overtime pay,
according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.
According to statements circulated Thursday by employee union
UFCW 21, Haggen workers found
out about the bankruptcy filing from news reports.
Below are two statements from UFCW 21 responding to the Haggen
bankruptcy. The first was distributed to the media, the second
was sent to
employees by union president Todd Crosby:
“For years, hard-working men and
women in grocery stores at Haggen’s have shown their commitment to
their job, their co-workers, the community, and this union
“As difficult as this bankruptcy
process is, our message to Haggen is simple – we expect Haggen to
do what is right by their hard-working employees and their
families. Haggen’s must never forget that these incredible men and
women who do the work are the heart and soul of their
“They are not numbers, but real
people whose work and dedication should be honored. Looking ahead,
our union family will do everything in our power to protect the
livelihoods of every member who is and has
been dedicated to meeting the needs of every Haggen’s
And the message from Crosby: Continue reading