By Ray Stern
The Bashas' grocery store chain still hasn't presented any direct proof that union workers planted expired baby formula on store shelves, but a showdown over the issue now seems assured.
Last week, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Douglas Rayes ruled that the defamation lawsuit brought by Bashas' against the United Food and Commercial Workers union meets the needed legal requirements to move forward.
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The UFCW Local 99 had wanted the case kicked out for a slew of reasons, chief among them the concept that the whole squabble is connected to a labor dispute and, as such, should be handled by the National Labor Relations Board. Without yet judging the facts of the case, Rayes ruled that Bashas' had met the normal criteria of a defamation case.
Considering the anti-Bashas' shenanigans covered in a January New Times article, Rayes' ruling is a welcome step for anyone hoping to get more answers in the feud between the UFCW and the 75-year-old grocery chain.
This was actually the second major court ruling involving the company last week. On July 29, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided to let a pay-discrimination lawsuit against Bashas' move forward.
Looks like everyone's getting the day in court that they wanted.