Posts Categorized: News

Two New Board Directors Named

Mike Violette, President and CEO of AG of New England recently stepped down as a Board Director after decades of service to the MGFPA.  Mike was recently promoted and recommended that Sue Johnson be named to fulfill his term.  “We’re very pleased to welcome Sue to the Board of Directors. She brings a wealth of experience and will be asset to the Board,” said Jim Lessor, MGFPA Board President.

Bob Cooper, Pine State Convenience, A Division of Core-Mark submitted his resignation after serving as a Board Director for nearly 8 years.  Bob’s has assumed increased responsibilities with the recent merger of Pine State Convenience and Core-Mark and highly recommended that Sheila Gibbons, Director of Spirits, Maine Spirits Company.  Maine Spirits Company is managed by Pine State Trading Company and operates the state liquor contract.  “We so pleased to welcome Sheila to the Board. Sheila’s work with the 500+ agency liquor stores and working knowledge of the industry will be invaluable to the Association,”  said Jim Lessor.

We’re grateful to Mike and Bob for their dedication to Maine’s grocery and food producer community and for their years of service to the MGFPA.  They will be recognized at the 2016 Annual Meeting held in conjunction with the October 19 Maine Food Means Business Summit in Freeport, Maine.

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Senate Advances Federal Mandatory GMO Labeling Bill

The GMO labeling bill from Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and ranking member Debbie Stabenow is headed for consideration on the Senate floor following a 65-32 vote on Wednesday, July 6 to limit debate on the measure. Maine Senators Collins and King voted against the measure.

Vote summary here.

The motion gives lawmakers 30 hours to debate the measure before a final vote, which is expected before the Senate leaves town for the weekend on Thursday, July 7, 2016.

Roberts told reporters today that he has the votes to pass the bill. Once it clears the Senate, the measure will head to the House floor, where lawmakers are leery of its mandatory labeling provisions. The House passed a voluntary labeling standard (H.R. 1599) last July.

Here’s also a link to NGA’s Press Release.

 

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Hannaford Garners Energy Efficiency Honor

Hannaford Supermarkets has been selected as a 2016 Northeast Business Leader for Energy Efficiency by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) as a result of its efforts to foster the economy and protect the environment.

Nominated by Vermont’s energy efficiency utility, Efficiency Vermont, Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford was among six organizations – and the only retailer – to be named as a 2016 Business Leaders.

Hannaford’s energy efficiency efforts in Vermont have resulted in….

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US DOL Releases Final Overtime Rules

Courtesy of the National Grocers Association

The Department of Labor (DOL) finalized and released the pending rule on overtime pay for salaried workers. The rule addresses the “white collar” exemption for executive, professional, and outside sales workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The new rule raises the exempt salary threshold from the previous $23,660 ($455 per week) to $47,476 ($913 per week). The 100% increase will also be coupled by an automatic increase which will be tied to changes in the 40th percentile in full-time salaried wages in the lowest-wage region of the United States (currently the southeast). The automatic increases will take place every three years, not on an annual basis as previously expected. There were no changes made to the duties test.

NGA has worked tirelessly to combat the changes made to the overtime rule since the publication of the proposed rule in July of 2015. NGA submitted extensive comments on behalf of NGA members (click HERE to view NGA’s comments) and has been actively lobbying towards a legislative solution (H.R. 4773 and S. 2707, the Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act) that would prevent the rule from going into effect. NGA also presented the concerns of the independent supermarket industry to the Office of Management and Budget Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OMB, OIRA) during the required rule review process. NGA has consistently advocated against the rule on the grounds that it would have significant negative effects on independent grocers, employees, and the communities they serve.

The rule is set to go into effect on December 1, 2016. This is a substantially longer period than the 60 day implementation period that had been rumored, though still far short of the desired 12-18 month implementation timetable NGA laid out to OMB. In the interim, NGA will continue to work with the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity and other allied trade associations to push for H.R. 4773 and S. 2707 to be taken up for consideration in their respective chambers. It should be noted that the use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) has been discussed in relation to the overtime rule. The CRA is a legislative mechanism that allows the Congress to pass a joint resolution of disapproval that negates the rule in question. However, a CRA is unlikely to gain the signature of the President and it is unlikely that either chamber has the votes to overcome a veto, making a legislative fix the best option for preventing this rule from going into effect.

Though NGA maintains that the 100% increase of the salary threshold will place a significant burden on the independent supermarket industry, the changes made to the final rule fully reflect the arguments that NGA made in our comments to DOL and OMB. NGA strongly advocated for: no changes to be made to the duties test, a longer implementation period, no automatic annual updates, and a significantly lower salary threshold based on geographic differences in salaried wages.

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