Mariano’s holds job fair separate from Dominick’s; workers must stay to get severance

SHARE Mariano’s holds job fair separate from Dominick’s; workers must stay to get severance

Dominick’s is hosting a job fair Tuesday for the 5,633 workers who could lose their jobs if the company’s Chicago-area warehouses and 68 unsold grocery stores go dark on Dec. 28.

A notice sent to Dominick’s unions lists dozens of local companies participating in the job fair at the Crowne Plaza O’Hare Hotel at 5440 N. River Road in Rosemont — but rival grocer Mariano’s is noticeably absent. Among the participants is Jewel-Osco, Strack & Van Til, Ultra Foods, Meijer, Walmart, Schnucks, Peapod, Whole Foods, Walgreens, CVS, Fannie May, Kohl’s, Target, Lowe’s and Home Depot.

You may recall that Bob Mariano, CEO of Mariano’s parent company Roundy’s, spent 27 years working his way to the top job at Dominick’s, which he ran from 1995 to 1998.

Safeway, based in California, bought Dominick’s in 1998 when Dominick’s had 116 stores and was lauded as having “an enviable reputation” as a leading grocer here. Bob Mariano has long vowed to return to Chicago to give local shoppers the kind of shopping experience he oversaw at Dominick’s.

It turns out that Mariano’s is hosting a job fair on Tuesday, too, and it’s at a hotel just next door to the Dominick’s job fair, at the Double Tree Hotel at 5460 N. River Road in Rosemont.

But Mariano’s job fair is strictly to hire for the company’s Lake Zurich store, slated to open early in the New Year.

The job fairs pose a conundrum for the already beleaguered workers. If they take new jobs now, they won’t get their severance packages.

Union leaders are cautioning Dominick’s employees that they must stay until the stores close in order to receive their severance benefits. Most senior full-timers will receive eight weeks of severance, but the length varies among the four unions.

“We don’t want our members to leave now and then come to us at the end of December asking where their severance packages are,” said Eric Bailey, spokesman for UFCW Local 1546.

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