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Bashas' Bankruptcy Smells Like Victory to Labor Union

Bashas' will stay in business, it says, despite the family-owned grocery chain's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy today. But it may have to shed another thousand jobs. That's on top of losing 1,700 earlier this month.

Court records say the company has $200 million in assets and $245 million in debt, we learned this morning from syndicated reporter Howie Fischer. KTAR [92.3 FM] reports that Bashas' owes Coke $2.5 million, but Pepsi only $1 million. Take that, Pepsi.

There's another winner here, too: The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99. The union campaigned vigorously against the chain, cooking up a "scandal" about expired baby food and spreading malicious exaggerations in the Hispanic community about Bashas'-owned Food City stores. Bashas' never capitulated -- therefore sealing its fate, as far as the UFCW was concerned. Whether the union's campaign contributed directly to the underlying causes of Bashas' bankruptcy, it sure couldn't have helped.

Conversely, could joining the union have prevented the bankruptcy? After all, Bashas' wouldn't have had that whole baby food thing to contend with. Or would UFCW representation have only aggravated the chain's financial condition?

Company officials plan to talk about the bankruptcy filing at a 10 a.m. news conference inside the Bashas' store at 5555 North 7th Street.

We'll venture into new territory here this morning with a poll from Polldaddy.com, a new Web gizmo. Internet polls are about as scientific as chemtrails believers, so enter as many times as you like:

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.