A contract with Snyder's is unlikely to be as good as the old one with Phar-Mor.
By DON SHILLING
VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR
AUSTINTOWN -- Union officials have until the end of this week to reach a labor contract with Snyder's Drug Stores that could bring 200 jobs to the Tamco Distribution Center.
Snyder's, a Minnesota-based retailer, is expected to decide in about two weeks whether to buy the Austintown warehouse or one in Kansas City, said Bob Bernat, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 377. A labor deal must be reached before the company decides.
Snyder's would hire about 200 former Tamco workers if it reopens the local warehouse, Bernat said.
The warehouse, which had supplied Phar-Mor stores and employed 250, closed last month when the Youngstown-based discount drugstore chain began to liquidate its merchandise.
Phar-Mor had been operating under bankruptcy court protection but was losing too much money to continue operating.
Bernat said he is negotiating daily with Snyder's officials, who are trying to hold down labor costs at whatever warehouse they choose.
He said a new contract likely will have some concessions from the one the union had with Phar-Mor.
The union and Snyder's had struck a deal that was approved by union membership, but that deal was contingent upon Snyder's winning a bankruptcy auction for Phar-Mor assets. It didn't win the auction but now is negotiating with Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, which owns the warehouse.
Bernat said Snyder's other option is a warehouse in Kansas City owned by McKesson Corp., a leading pharmaceutical company.
Bernat said Tamco would be closer to many of Snyder's stores, such as those in Ohio and New York, but many of its locations are in its home state of Minnesota.
Many of its stores are small neighborhood drugstores, so they don't have as many products as Phar-Mor stores do, Bernat said.
Snyder's officials have said they want a central warehouse for their growing chain. They now distribute products with the help of other companies, which receive products, separate them and send them to stores.