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Computerized check-out page 2
14 Port l-Fri., l-Fri., l-Fri., Mar. 28, 1975 Hog !3ngtfat gHmtg COMPUTERIZED CHECK-OUT CHECK-OUT CHECK-OUT Continued from Third Page Eugene Walsh, head of Ralphs Grocery Co, says that "sharing" decision decision should be made in collective-bargaining collective-bargaining collective-bargaining collective-bargaining sessions as far as clerks are concerned, and that competition within the industry will assure consumers consumers of their share of the benefits. But apparently it is not going to be that easy. The parties disagree widely widely over how to do the sharing, and also over the anticipated size of the pie to be shared. Ralphs' Walsh says there is "absolutely "absolutely no way to guess now how much productivity will improve, and all of this now is very much in the experimental stage." Ralphs' opened the only computerized computerized grocery store in Southern California California Sept. 23 in Lakewood, and the clerks say they move customers through the lines much faster than they used to. I "I'd say that a customer that took me two minutes to check out under the old system can now be moved through in 45 seconds, from 'hello' to my 'thank you very much," said Pat King, a Ralphs' clerk. But her bosses feel that her estimate estimate is far too high. Fox, management's chief spokes- spokes- man in Southern California, says he expects that savings made from increased increased efficiency in warehouse operations, operations, inventory. control and other aspects of food distribution will be greater than the savings from faster check-out check-out check-out lines.' 1 But there are no firm estimates of the expected savings, and so the most management should negotiate now Management maintains those problems do not affect most customers. with the clerks is a contract clause comparable to one adopted recently by clerks in Northern' California, Fox maintains. That contract says that if management management plans to use the electronic check-out check-out check-out system which results in removing removing price markings from items sold in the stores, then management must give the union advance notice of its plans. .The union could then negotiate for new pay rates and job transfers for affected workers, and if no agree ment is reached, a neutral arbitrator will resolve any disputes. The Retail Clerks' Edwards says' that clause is "totally unsatisfactory," and he wants much stronger language language to protect work opportunities for clerks and make certain they get their full share of the benefits of the new system. "It is a lie to say we oppose com- com- puterization itself, however," Edwards Edwards insists. "We're' thinking about an 'automated' contract, which would cut our workweek as our productivity productivity goes up. "We want our fair share, and a share for consumers, and that we're ready to fight for," the union official says. But Fox believes the' union is trying to scuttle the entire system with "such ugly slogans as 'consumer ripoff when they talk about the experiments." experiments." The charge of "ripoff" stems from the fight over individual price tags on each item, and not just the question question of who gets the benefits of savings savings from the new system. Lucky Stores, Inc., has the only other computerized market in Californiain Californiain San Leandro and there individual items are not labeled. At Ralphs' in Lakewood they are. Ralphs' chairman, Walsh, says his company has not yet decided what to do about the individual labels. They are not needed as the items are checked out across the laser-beamed laser-beamed laser-beamed scanner which reads the Universal Product Code. "So if we do use the separate price tags on each item it will just cost' more money which could be used as savings for consumers," he argues. In any case, he says, "I strongly oppose oppose the Legislature trying to force us to put the labels on by law. That is-something is-something is-something we can negotiate with our employes about. You cannot legislate inefficiency." But the unions and many consumer groups are pressing hard for laws to require separate price tags on each item. "Of course we are motivated in part by the fact that if the tags are not Please Turn to Page 15, Col. 1 18 (22212? tfflBEW CYMBIDIUM ORCHID PLANTS STAGHORN ERNS r S995 c Reg. 5.00 MANY VARIETIES MAGNIFICENT EASTER GIFTS t IN BUD OR 111 BLOOM ww 2 gal. pot w pur. of 3 CATTLEYA SPECIAL ORANGE TO RED SEEDLINGS 250 i. wpur. 2 WIS LSroklsfill i.. many HOBBYIST VBSS CYMBIDIUM .size COLLECTION ttuovu. . wlth pur, il S Mk MULTI-BULB MULTI-BULB MULTI-BULB 2 GAL CYMBIDIUM $033 u w pur. 3 Special collection of 4 Rare Showy u ALSO MANY T-XL00M T-XL00M T-XL00M BROMELIADS MARCH SPECIAL Pink Torch IAe. 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