Tag Archives: unions

Report: Albertsons buying more Haggen stores, but not in Kitsap


Update: Haggen confirmed the deal in a news release Friday.

Albertsons is preparing to gobble up more stores from Haggen, but not the shuttered locations in Siverdale or East Bremerton.

According to reports from several news sources, the grocery giant is finalizing a deal to acquire Haggen’s remaining “core stores,” which include the original Haggen stores in Whatcom County. (The Oregonian posted a full list.)

haggans08_15364113_ver1.0_640_480The news was attributed to a grocery workers union and was not confirmed by Haggen, Albertsons, or the Federal Trade Commission.

The list of stores being sold does not include former Haggen locations in Silverdale or East Bremerton, which were designated as “non-core stores.”

Haggen already sold off most its non-core stores — including one in Port Orchard — during bankruptcy auctions last fall. The stores in Silverdale and East Bremerton didn’t sell. Both closed in late November and remain empty.

Haggen has not responded to my requests for information about plans for its discarded Kitsap locations.

The grocer owns the property off Wheaton Way in East Bremerton. It leased the Bucklin Hill Road space in Silverdale from a real estate investment group.

If Albertsons does buy Haggen’s core business, it will add another twist to an already improbable retail saga.

A year ago Haggen, a small, Bellingham-based chain, acquired 146 stores from Albertsons and Safeway as the mega grocers finalized a merger agreement. The FTC required the sale to prevent the combined Albertsons/Safeway chain from gaining monopolies in some markets.

hagganlead_15364107_ver1.0_640_480Included in the divestiture were Albertsons stores in Silverdale and East Bremerton, and a Safeway in Port Orchard.

Haggen’s rapid expansion scheme proved devastating. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September.

Albertsons bought back many of its old stores from Haggen last fall, including the Port Orchard location, which will reopen as a Safeway sometime this year (an opening date has not been released).

Now Albertsons is poised to absorb the remainder of Haggen’s crumbling empire.

Your weekly update on the Haggen saga

Haggen2_15364115_ver1.0_640_480Nary a day passes without some fresh revelation on the travails of Haggen, the Bellingham grocer that grew from 18 locations to 164 by gobbling up stores divested in the Albertsons/Safeway merger.

To recap, Haggen filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week. Haggen also sued Albertsons for $1 billion, claiming the grocery giant sabotaged its expansion. Haggen operates three Kitsap County stores in Bremerton, Port Orchard and Silverdale.

Business reporters have been sifting through the bankruptcy filings to gain some insight into the future of the troubled grocer. Here are some recent Haggen headlines:

  • Despite the lawsuit, the Seattle Times reports Haggen is seeking approval for Albertsons to hire back employees from the stores it divested. There was a one-year ban on Albertsons hiring employees from its former stores.

Union responds to Haggen bankruptcy

Haggans01_15364108_ver1.0_640_480A 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 family.  

“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 stores. 

“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 customer.”

And the message from Crosby:  Continue reading

Harrison pro-techs will vote on contract Thursday

Union pro-tech employees at Harrison Medical Center are expected to vote on a contract proposal Thursday. The bargaining team negotiating on behalf of those 800 employees has recommended they vote “no” on Harrison’s proposal.

Negotiations on a new contract began last summer and stalled over the winter. The hospital and employees, represented by UFCW 21, returned to the bargaining table March 14 but did not reach an agreement. Harrison requested a vote on its latest proposal.

We’ll report on the results of the vote meetings Thursday.