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JOURNAL Randall’s Takes It Personal AUSTIN When Houston-based Randall’s Management Corp. recently announced it had agreed to buy Dallas-based Cullum Cos., Randall’s spokesmen said no changes were planned at the 79 Tom Thumb-Page groceries, Simon David Gourmet Food Stores and Drug Plus discount drug stores in the Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin areas. But Randall’s has a reputation at its Houston grocery chain of upholding its own moral standards, which has been a cause for concern as it expands its holdings. Critics complain that Randall’s censored one free newspaper because of its “sleazy” content, while allowing another tabloid to discriminate against homosexuals in its advertising. Randall’s previously was acclitsed of being biased against gays when butcher Steven Little was fired in 1985, allegedly over concerns about AIDS. Little sued but settled out of court and has since died, the Dallas Morning News reported. The grocery chain’s president, Randall Onstead, recently told a gay rights group he is not homophobic and said the company employs many gays and lesbians. This past spring Randall’s stopped the Houston Press, a weekly alternative newspaper, from being distributed at the stores. The Press said its distributor was told one of the reasons was that the publication publishes personal ads for gays and lesbians as well as for heterosexuals. Randall’s officials said the Press was pulled because it was behind on payments for space and did not maintain the racks, which the Press denies. Queer Nation, a gay activist group, protested that the Montrose-area Randall’s should drop Greensheet, a free tabloid whose personal ads are limited to requests for the opposite sex. Randall’s has refused, claiming that protests should be aimed at the publisher. Queer Nation also complained that a transsexual was harassed in a restroom of the chain’s Montrose location. Onstead reportedly told the gay group his view of the Press as containing “sleazy” editorial content was a factor in his decision to remove the paper. The Press, in an editorial, accused Randall’s of hypocrisy in barring the Press, which is distributed free, while the grocery store continues to sell sensational tabloids plus the city’s two major daily newspapers, both of which carry personal ads, and romance novels containing steamy and suggestive language. John A. Wilburn, editor of the Press, said he regrets Randall’s decision to bar the newspaper mainly because it was a convenient outlet. It accounted for about 5 percent of the paper’s distribution, he said, but, “The best thing about being in Randall’s is they’re all over town and when somebody wanted to know where they could pick up a copy we could tell them at Randall’s.” Onstead did not reply to requests for an interview. Randall’s is willing to pay a price for its moral standards. Advertisements for Randall’s 45 grocery stores in the Houston area note that they do not sell alcoholic beverages, which costs them an estimated $50 million in revenues annually, the Morning News reported. Whether it can afford to write off the patronage of persons sympathetic to gay and lesbian concerns as well as those disturbed by apparent censorship of the public prints remains to be seen. J.C. UAW Flattens Reform AUSTIN With the motto, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” United Auto Workers delegates in San Diego, California, beat down a reform movement at the union’s convention this past month. But the opposition leader promised to keep pressure on the UAW leadership as auto workers face continued efforts to bust their unions or to relocate manufacturing plants outside the United States. “We still have a revolution to provoke out there somewhere,” said Jerry Tucker, the challenger from the New Directions opposition movement, after he got support from approximately 5 percent of the 2,000 delegates to the convention. “Our supporters were too few, but they were still well-spoken and we stood our ground,” Tucker said, putting the best face on the reform movement’s worst showing since its organization in 1986. Membership in the auto workers’ union has dropped from 1.5 million members in 1979 to 862,000 in 1991, and it represents 68 percent of U.S. auto workers, down from 86 percent in 1978, according to Labor Notes, a Detroit-based magazine of the union movement. It also reported that in the keynote speech at the convention, UAW President Owen Bieber failed to mention General Motors’ plan to close 21 plants and eliminate 54,000 UAW jobs. Of the union’s April retreat at Caterpillar, Bieber called it a “change of tactics,” not a “surrender.” “It’s safe to assume that the Big Three were encouraged by Caterpillar’s success and will take a hard line in bargaining next year. But there was no way for delegates to debate how to meet the expected assault,” wrote Jane Slaughter in the July issue of Labor Notes. “Instead delegates desultorily discussed apple-pie resolutions ranging from free trade for some tinkering with the constitution, and went to lavish receptions to celebrate the reelection of regional directors, most of whom ran unopposed.” Tucker, a former regional director from. St. Louis, Missouri, campaigned for a switch from the current delegate system to a one memberone vote system of electing top officers. A similar process resulted in reformist Ron Carey’s upset win in the Teamsters earlier this year. A Detroit Free Press poll of 150 Detroit-area members found 92 percent in favor of the referendum-style vote and 21 locals submitted resolutions endorsing the change, but the Constitution Committee recommended keeping the status quo. The referendum issue ended up with the support of approximately 10 percent of the delegates. Tucker said many delegates were sympathetic to the reform movement, but reluctantly voted with the International leadership because they feared the loss of International support as tough contract talks approach. Reg McGhee, a UAW spokesman in Detroit, said Tucker was not allowed on the convention floor because he chose not to run as a delegate from his Local, but Tucker’s supporters were allowed to raise their issues, and all were rejected by large margins. “It’s clear that the membership endorsed the stands that the national administration has taken,” McGhee said. He also denied there was any intimidation of delegates. Carroll Butler, president of UAW Local 848 in Grand Prairie, said he entered the convention a supporter of New Directions, but he wonders if the reform movement has lost its steam. Butler said he did not see harassment or intimidation of reformers. The incumbents “didn’t need to,” he said. “The rank and file seems to be satisfied with the leadership,” he said. At Local 276 in Arlington, President Dave Continued from previous page 3,029 in the Ojinaga district. The village of Manuel Benavides and the town of Coyame voted PRI but PAN took all Ojinaga offices. Four blocks down Allende street, behind a blue facade advertising “Novedades del Desierto” said that the President’s office tells him the threat he reported has been referred to Mexican prosecutors. And Malaquias Flores reportedly has been arrested by federal police, charged with carrying an illegal gun. But not everyone has got the message. On iPrensa Libre!’ s answering machine on election day a husky, gravelly voice threatened, “You are going to die very soon, understand? Tu pendejo, hijo de puta!” THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13