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December 4, 2017 3:45 PM, EST
Kroger Switches to Penske to Handle Trucking, Warehousing in Texas
Penske Logistics tractor TT File Photo

Nearly 700 employees who work in a Kroger warehouse in Keller, Texas, were laid off when the supermarket chain terminated a relationship with SouthStar and signed with Penske Logistics, but Penske said individuals affected will be able to reapply for jobs.

SouthStar filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice with the Texas Workforce Commission on Nov. 17 to announce that the 690 workers would be losing their jobs Dec. 10, a procedural move legally required when the layoffs affect more than 100 people. SouthStar wrote in the letter that the move was unexpected.

Penske spokesman Randy Ryerson told Transport Topics that the deal allows his company to add trucking and warehousing services at the Keller facility to its pre-existing relationship with Kroger in several other locations in the United States.

Most of the workers affected by the layoff are members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters or the United Food and Commercial Workers unions. Penske is in talks with both groups, Ryerson said.

“Pending an agreement with two unions that include the Teamsters and United Food and Commercial Workers, Penske Logistics intends to interview and recruit from the existing workforce as well as outside applicants,” he said, which means some of the workers laid off could be rehired. “Penske’s work at the facility will start once new labor agreements are in place and ratified by the unions.”

Penske hasn’t announced how many people it will hire to work at the warehouse.

Penske Logistics ranks No. 12 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest logistics companies in North America.