County municipal police still ignore authorizing letter
By ED FINKELSTEIN
Teamsters Local 688 handbilling of Schnucks saw a bit of a breakthrough recently as handbillers at a city store were allowed to stand at the doors of the market instead of being forced to the public entrances of the shopping center.
(Editor’s Note: This story was published prior to Schnucks announcing it will no longer allow the Boys Scouts, Girl Scouts and Salvation Army, among many others, to solicit in front of their stores.)
Even before a final ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on the union’s free speech rights to stand at the front of each store just as other organizations are freely allowed to do, handbillers at Schnuck’s city store at 4171 Lindell saw the police arrive at the store manager’s behest, talk with him and then leave after telling the store manager the handbillers had a right to be there.
The difference between this instance and others in the county where police from the various municipalities did force handbillers to shopping center entrances: The St. Louis police commonsense understanding of the union’s free speech right to protest.
That right to handbill at store entrances has been backed up by St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch who issued an open letter clearly stating that as long as the NLRB has accepted an unfair labor practices charge for investigation, handbillers have the right to be at the store entrances until a final decision is rendered.
An NLRB hearing on Local 688’s unfair labor practice charge will be held Sept. 7.
“While county officers, apparently confused over the issue, have chosen to ignore Mr. McCulloch’s letter, the city officers clearly understood our rights and allowed us to continue handbilling at the Schnucks store entrances,” said Local 688 Chief Executive Officer Mike Goebel. “We deeply appreciate their common-sense approach.”
The reason Schnucks is fighting to keep the union from its entrances was clearly demonstrated at the Lindell store when shoppers took the time to stop, read the handbill and discuss it with a Local 688 handbillers.
“Many shoppers turned away and others said they would not be coming back until Schnucks did the right by their loyal employees and let them have their jobs back at the company’s new warehouse, now open in north county,” said Mike Schlueter, Local 688’s warehouse division business representative.
“The public’s acceptance of our situation here and everywhere we handbill, is outstanding.”
More than 25 Local 688 members and retirees, as well as volunteers from other Teamster locals and other unions, were on hand for the handbilling.
The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) turned out in force to help with their signs showing support for Local 688’s job-protecting efforts.
Schnucks has decided its ok to fire 231 loyal employees that have worked at their current warehouse and replace them with scabs at their new warehouse, just recently opened.
because Schnucks stores were without the product, the new distribution effort by scabs was so poor. They had to rely on their good union help to get things back on track!
Handbilling will continue throughout the Schnucks system, Schlueter said.