Washington Public Policy Conference: April 17-18, 2013
he Annual Washington Conference is being held Wednesday afternoon, April 17, and Thursday, April 18, 2013. The conference is being sponsored by the Food Marketing Institute, the National Grocers Association and the Food Industry Association Executives. All IFRA members are encouraged to attend.
including taxes, healthcare, menu labeling, and interchange fees and a general overview of the grocery industry.
IFRA will underwrite the registration fee for all members. We encourage you to attend since there are many important issues affecting businesses and the grocery industry,
Inside IFRA General Membership Meeting & Retail Day, Wednesday, May 1........... p. 2 Last Call for Scholarship Applications .......................................................... p. 2 Legislative Update.............................. p. 4 FLMA Federal Poster Requirement.... p. 6 Niemann Foods Celebrates 100th Store .......................................................... p. 7 Healthcare Reform Fees & Taxes........ p. 8
The annual conference is very informative and an excellent opportunity to visit our nationâ€™s Capitol. IFRA prearranges congressional office visits for Thursday, April 18. We encourage you to join the IFRA delegation. Please contact the IFRA office for more information: toll free in IL â€” 800-624-6712.
Swipe Fee Anti Trust Litigation
Recommendation: Opt Out and Object To Proposed Settlement As reported in previous electronic weekly updates, the National Grocers Association recommends and strongly encourages all retailers who have accepted Visa and Master Card credit card transactions from Janaury 1, 2004, through November 27, 2012 and beyond, to opt out and object to the proposed litigation settlement because it does not achieve the fundamental objective of restructing and reforming anti-competitive credit card swipe fees and payment rules. The deadline to opt out and object is a two-step process that must be completed by May 28, 2013. Please see page 3 of this Report for more information on the various options available to you and the action steps to take for the option you choose to take. We also encourage you to visit the NGA website at www.nationalgrocers.org/settlementoptions. Call the IFRA office today should you have any questions.
IFRA Board of Directors/General Membership Meeting & Retail Day at the Capitol Wednesday, May 1, 2013 IFRA will hold its 2013 MidYear Board of Directors and General Membership meeting on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield. This meeting will be followed by Retail Day at the Capitol activities with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the Illinois Manufacturers Association and other co-hosting organizations. Association members gather from across the state to talk retail issues and to meet one on one with their state legislators to explain how specific issues personally affect their company and community. Retail Day activities begin at 12:00 with a luncheon, followed by a general issues briefing. Shuttle buses will be available to take members to the Capitol building to meet with your state legislators. The afternoon concludes with the ever-popular evening gala reception under the tent. IFRA has a limited number of sleeping rooms for our meeting at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel. Our
2013 IFRA Scholarship Program Last Call for Applicants
he IFRA Scholarship Foundation application process is in its final stages. All applications must be in by March 31, 2013. Please note that the employees of all IFRA member companies are eligible to participate. We encourage students to apply online by going to our website at www.ilfood.org where they are able to print an application or apply online. The IFRA Scholarship program also provides a mechanism for member companies to sponsor their own scholarship program utilizing the administration of the IFRA program. Member companies can "piggyback" onto the IFRA Scholarship Program's application procedure to make scholarship awards to the children of their permanent, full-time employees and/or their part-time employees who are full-time students in high school or college.
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room block is up on April 2nd, so please let us know as quickly as possible what sleeping room accommodations you will need for Tuesday, April 30, and/or Wednesday, May 1.
Association members meet with legislators about issues affecting the food industry during Retail Day at the Capitol.
To obtain a special IFRA member registration fee of 45.00 per person with complimentary passes for spouses, please call the Association office at toll free in IL: 800- 624-6712.
REMINDER for Chicago Retailers PLASTIC BAG ANNUAL REPORT DUE
Retailers that offer plastic carryout bags to customers and have at least 25 percent of gross sales attributable to pharmacy and/or food intended for consumption off premises must submit an annual report to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. The report should contain the following information: the amount of bags and film collected and recycled, along with the recycling location and costs attributed to collection and recycling of the bags and film. This year's report is due by March 31. Please call the Association office if you would like us to e-mail a link to the reporting form or for a copy of the form. Following is the link for reporting forms: www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/bacp/supp_info/ annual_plastic_bagrecyclingreportinginformation.html.
NGA Recommends Opting Out & Objecting to Proposed Settlement For Payment Care Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation
even and a half years ago, NGA, at the direction of its board, elected to become a plaintiff in a class action payment card interchange fee and merchant discount antitrust litigation for Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation on behalf of NGA and its retail and wholesale grocers. NGA was joined in this litigation by three of its members, Coborn's Inc., D'Agostino Supermarkets, and Affiliated Foods Midwest, along with Jetro Holdings Inc., Jetro Cash & Carry Enterprises and five other national trade associations. On February 10, 2013, the NGA Board voted unanimously for NGA to opt out and object to the proposed settlement and recommend that members also opt out and object. NGA President and CEO Peter J. Larkin said "The NGA Board carefully considered not only what is in the best interests of the retailers and wholesalers it serves, but also all other merchants who will be adversely affected by the proposed settlement. It is clear to NGA that by deciding to opt out and object to the proposed settlement it sends a clear and unequivocal message that the proposed settlement should be rejected at the fairness hearing on September 12, 2013." NGA and others oppose the proposed settlement because in our view it does not achieve the fundamental objective of restructuring and reforming anti-competitive credit card swipe fees and payment rules, and will only make matters worse for consumers and merchants. From a legal perspective, NGA and others strongly believe the proposed settlement does not meet the standard for being fair, adequate and reasonable. It is unfair because it violates due process. It is inadequate and unreasonable because of the illusory nature of the relief and overly broad reach of the release from future antitrust violations. Visit www.nationalgrocers.org/settlementoptions to learn more about your options and see how you can join NGA in opting out and objecting.
Merchant Options Regarding the Proposed Settlement
In Re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation NGA Recommended Action: OPT OUT AND OBJECT Opting out and objecting is the most complete way to express your opposition to the Settlement and convince Judge Gleeson to reject the settlement. This option excludes you from receiving money damages under the proposed settlement but preserves your right to pursue your own suit for past money damages and provides you with the best protection from any argument
that you have accepted in the proposed Settlement’s release terms. Opting out and objecting is a two-step process (you must write to the Court, plaintiffs' counsel and defendants' counsel to object, and write to the Settlement Administrator to opt out). *If you do not opt out or object, you may be deemed to have accepted the release and will relinquish your opportunity to voice opposition to the settlement terms. Deadline: May 28, 2013
Other Options You May Consider Include: OBJECT WITHOUT OPTING OUT The benefit of objecting is that you may persuade Judge Gleeson and the Court that the proposed Settlement is unfair and should not be approved. By objecting WITHOUT opting out, you will be eligible to claim money damages under the proposed settlement, but lose your right to sue for more money damages or challenge other conduct that occurred before November 27, 2012. *If you do not opt out or object, you may be deemed to have accepted the release and will relinquish your opportunity to voice opposition to the settlement terms. Deadline: May 28, 2013 "FAIRNESS HEARING" The Court will hold a "Fairness Hearing" to consider the Settlement. You may, but are not required to, speak at the Fairness Hearing about any Objection you filed. If you intend to speak at the Fairness Hearing, you must follow certain procedures to notify the Court and parties of your intent when you serve your Objection. Deadline for Notice of Intent: May 28, 2013 Hearing Date: September 12, 2013 IF YOU CHOOSE TO DO NOTHING By doing nothing—that is you neither opt out and object nor object—you may be deemed to have accepted all terms of the settlement including release terms. In order to receive money damages you must file a claim after the Court’s final approval.
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by Robb Karr, IFRA Legislative Consultant, Vice President, IRMA
Food Safety Training Reform
The Senate Executive Committee will hear an amendment to increase the Illinois minimum wage from the current $8.25 per hour to $10.00 over three years. The schedule would be as follows:
Efforts to reform Illinois’ food handling training regimen is contained in HB 1546 (Rep. Kelly Burke, D- Oak Lawn). HB 1546 is identical to the reform effort negotiated between retail and representatives of the public health sector and contained in SB 2169 last year. In short, HB 1546 seeks to accomplish the following:
January 1, 2014, minimum wage increases from $8.25 to $9.00
January 1, 2015, minimum wage increases from $9.00 to $9.50
January 1, 2016, minimum wage increases from $9.50 to $10.00
Illinois’ minimum wage is already the fourth highest in the nation. This would give Illinois the highest, or second highest, minimum wage rate in the nation depending on the inflation factor the State of Washington applies each year. Contact the State Senator representing your home and every business location you have. Tell them you are a constituent, a business person, and urge them to vote “No” on any minimum wage increase put before them. For talking points, please contact the Association office at 630-627-8100.
Tobacco Licensing SB 1447 (Sen. Ira Silverstein-Chicago) seeks to require retailers of cigarettes to obtain an annual $250 license for each location from the Illinois Department of Revenue beginning January 1, 2014. Also requires each retailer to obtain a $2500 bond for each location. Attempts to undo the requirements imposed on roll-your-own tobacco machines imposed last year.
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Reduces initial classroom requirement to sit for the initial FSSMC exam from 15 hours to seven hours.
Requires FSSMC holders to retake the seven classroom hours and repass the certification exam every five years.
Allows for FSSMC holders moving to Illinois from another State to obtain the Illinois FSSMC without having to sit for classroom hours or retake the exam until their FSSMC certification lapses.
Creates a statewide basic food handler training requirement. Businesses may utilize their own internal training if approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Employees must receive this training within 30-days of hire.
All local ordinances, or power to impose such ordinances, are preempted.
Pharmacy Benefits for Unemployed HB 11 (Rep. Mary Flowers, DChicago) seeks to require pharmacies to dispense prescribed medicines to unemployed individuals without charge.
IFRA Legislative Consultant- IRMA Executive Vice President Rob Karr
Credit Card Surcharge HB 977 (Rep. Barbara Wheeler, RFox Lake) and HB 2328 (Rep. Patrick Verschoore, D- Rock Island) both seek to prohibit retailers from imposing surcharges on credit card users as allowed under the proposed settlement. These bills will be held in Committee.
Snap Benefits There are a number of bills (HB’s 29, 133, 177, 1235, and 1339) seeking to regulate SNAP benefits. Most want a recipient's photo ID on their LINK card, as well as the State to gain a waiver enabling the State to determine which products are SNAP-eligible, or some combination thereof. IRMA is opposing. The chairman of the House Human Services Committee is assigning all such bills to subcommittee and has not determined whether there will be a hearing. Even if there is a hearing, these bills will not pass.
Paint Care The American Coatings Association and the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois (CICI) have had a paint recycling program introduced as SB 1705 and HB 2274. These bills seek to implement the Paint Care program. A manufacturer may not sell their paint in Illinois unless they participate in
the program via a not-for-profit, non-governmental agency which is established by statute and run by the paint manufacturers. This NGO operates the take-back program, including establishing a fee that is added to every can of paint sold in the State to fund the program. Every manufacturer must add the fee to the price of their paint and every retailer must pass that fee on to the customer. Retail participation in terms of serving as a collection site or disseminator of information on the program is voluntary. These bills have been introduced but not yet assigned to committee.
IDOT Signs In 1965, the Federal Highway Beautification Act was enacted. The goal was to regulate billboards and thereby preserve the natural beauty of the country along the highways and byways. In 1972, the State of Illinois signed an agreement with the Federal government to help regulate these signs. In exchange, the State would receive an additional one-half-of-one-percent of additional highway monies from the Federal government. The State has redefined billboards to be any outdoor signs, not just billboards, visible from an Interstate as opposed to within 660 feet
of an Interstate. This includes signs on the sides of buildings. Recently, the State of Illinois contracted with an engineering firm to inventory signs. That survey found 14,000 signs (using the unjustifiably expanded definition). Businesses with such signs are receiving letters informing them they must obtain a permit for their sign or it will be taken down at the business’s expense. The permit is between $50 and $200 depending upon the size of the sign. If any of your stores received a letter stating they needed to permit a sign, please let us know.
FMI Argues USDA COOL Rule Increases Burdens on Food Retailers and Consumers Proposed Rule Confuses Retail Meat Case Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Regulatory Counsel Erik Lieberman made the following statement concerning the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed rule that further expands the record-keeping burden and scope of labeling required under the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) program: “Food retailers are already 97 percent compliant under COOL, and have demonstrated their commitment to following the law for years. The USDA’s revised, proposed rule on COOL adds additional paperwork burdens to a needlessly onerous regulation that is already costing retailers hundreds of millions of dollars each year, resulting in higher food prices. “The USDA’s proposal would impose significant, additional costs, yet it does not bring us into compliance with the World Trade Organization’s ruling, and in fact, it erects new trade barriers that will set the stage for retaliatory tariffs. If tariffs are imposed by our most important trading partners, we will inevitably witness job losses and price increases.
“Rather than providing regulatory relief to lower consumer costs and reduce the barriers COOL poses to trade, the proposed rule makes it even more difficult for retailers to comply and consumers to understand. Indeed, USDA’s proposal creates a series of new and confusing labels. “Supermarkets have been supplying the country-of-origin information to consumers for years. This proposed rule necessitates the need for legislative changes to bring the law into compliance with our trade commitments in a way that works for consumers and the entire supply chain. “FMI stands ready to work with Congress to reform COOL to create a system which provides consumers with information they want on the origin of products while not imposing unnecessary paperwork burdens on food retailers."
©Illinois Food Retailers Association/Page 5
FMLA Federal Poster Requirement The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a final rule amending Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations. The Family and Medical Leave Act notice has been revised to reflect the changes caused by the recently approved rule. The definition of "Veteran " has been revised to include both those who serve and those discharged in the past five years (previously it was only those who served). The explicit definition of " Serious Injury or Illness" was also removed, replaced by notice that there are differences between the definition of " Serious Injury or Illness" for a service member or veteran and "Serious Health Condition" under FMLA.
The final rule was published in the Federal Register on February 6 and the mandatory posting requirements are effective March 8, 2013. Following is a link to the new posting notice, which you can print out and tape over the current section: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/posters/ fmlaen.pdf. If you have a recent version of the IFRA all-in-one federal poster, we have an updated FMLA section available for members, which you can stick over the current section of the poster. Please call the IFRA office at Toll Free IL 1800-624-6712 to obtain one.
February Showed Job Growth
IFRA Food Service Sanitation Course Offerings For a complete schedule of Sanitation Classes Please visit: www.ilfood.org
©Illinois Food Retailers Association/Page 6
U.S. employers ramped up hiring in February, adding 236,000 jobs and pushing the unemployment rate down to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent in January. The rate was the lowest since it was 7.6 percent in January 2009. The government's February employment report was filled with mostly encouraging details. Hiring has averaged more than 200,000 per month since November. Wages increased. And the job gains were broad-
based, led by the best construction hiring in six years. One negative detail: Employers added fewer jobs in January than first estimated. Job gains were lowered to 119,000 from an initially reported 157,000. Still, December hiring was a little better than first thought, with 219,000 jobs added instead of 196,000.
“The government's February employment report was filled with mostly encouraging details.”
Illinois' jobless rate, meanwhile, rose to nine percent in January, up from 8.7 percent in December, the state reported.
Niemann Foods Opens 100th Store Location
IFRA member Niemann Foods opened their newest County Market on March 7, 2013, in Springfield, Illinois. The opening ceremony was especially meaningful for the Niemann family, the company associates and their wholesale supplier SuperValu, since they were celebrating their 100th retail location! The store was crowded with shoppers and many local and state dignitaries and vendor partners. The 35,000 square-foot, full-service grocery store includes a drive-up Caribou coffee shop, driveup pharmacy and a mezzanine dining area with Wi-Fi. Springfield Mayor Mike Houston said, “This is more than a grocery store. I have been amazed by the transformation of this corner from what used to be an environmentally distressed piece of property that has really turned into an asset for the City of Springfield.” The store is located at Second and Carpenter in the medical district near downtown Springfield. As part of the opening ceremonies, through the efforts of Niemann Foods and SuperValu, one ton of food was donated to the local chapter of the Salvation Army. Niemann Foods provides employment to over 5,000 people in three states: Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. Founded in 1917, the associate-owned company operates under the banners of County Market, Save A Lot, County Market Express, Pick A Dilly Convenience Stores, Ace Hardware, Health Mart Pharmacies and Pet Supplies Plus. IFRA congratulates Niemann Foods on this milestone event.
Connie and Rich Niemann, Sr.-Chairman of the Board, Niemann Foods Back row, left to right: Chris Niemann-Chief Financial Officer; Erik Niemann, Quincy-Notre Dame H.S. graduating senior; Ted Niemann, Esq; and Rich Niemann, Jr.-President & CEO.
With the opening of our ne Springfield medical district, Niemann Foods provides em IL, MO & IA. Founded in 19 to one of the largest indepe operates several Retail ban County Market Express & P Hardware, Health Mart Pha dedicated to providing the service, quality products an company has been committ proud to partner with many privilege to help out in each in. As we continue to grow associates and customers w years. ©Illinois Food Retailers Association/Page 7
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If you have questions concerning healthcare reform, please call Brian Lomas or Jennifer Chassay at Gallagher Benefit Services at 630-694-5256.
Important Dates March 22, 2013 GMA Bowling with the Industry Brunswick Zone Woodridge, IL April 17-18, 2013 FMI-NGA Washington Conference Washington, DC April 30-May 2, 2013 FMI Convention Future Connect Orlando, FL
May 1, 2013 IFRA Mid-Year Meeting Retail Day at the Capitol Springfield, IL May 16, 2013 GMA-IFRA Annual Golf Outing Silver Lake Country Club Orland Park, IL October 8-9, 2013 IFRA-GMA Annual Conference Odyssey Country Club Tinley Park Convention Center Tinley Park, IL
The Monthly Report is the official member publication of the Illlinois Food Retailers Association 1919 S. Highland Ave. Lombard, IL 60148 Telephone: 630-627-8100 Toll free in IL: 800-624-6712 www.ilfood.org Editorial communications welcome