Private effort to mediate before boycott rebuffed by Schnuck
By ED FINKELSTEIN
In a change of tactics, Teamsters Local 688, aided by union members and retirees from other locals, recently mass picketed every entrance at a single Schnucks shopping center instead of picketing multiple centers on a weekend. The target: the Des Peres shopping center on Manchester Road just east of I-270 on Saturday and Sunday June 25 and 26. This approach will be repeated in the future.
The impact was noticeable. Not only passing cars and trucks honking horns, many are leaning out their windows with a “thumbs up” sign encouraging picketers to stand strong. And many others, reading the union’s handbill, are turning around and leaving.
At the Overland Plaza shopping center the previous weekend on a Saturday at 2 p.m., the store’s peak shopping time, the parking lot was embarrassingly empty for Schnucks, noted Local 688’s Chief Executive Officer Mike Goebel, “A great sign of the public’s growing support of the 231 families being kicked to the street after giving most of their adult working lives to Schnucks.”
That growing support is also evident in the number of other unions and retirees helping picket. At the Des Peres picketing, union members on the line were from Glaziers 513, Plumbers & Pipefitters 562, IBEW 1, Postal Workers, UAW, Bricklayers 1, Elevator Constructors 3 and Teamsters 600 Retirees Club.
“We deeply appreciate all the help we’ve received from our sister unions and their members. It’s heartwarming and very encouraging for our members to know that people care and are willing to reach out,” said Local 688 Business Representative Mike Schlueter, the union’s warehouse representative.
“We invite every union’s members to join us on the picket line any weekend they have a few spare hours,” Goebel added. If you can spare a few hours, call Schlueter’s direct line at 314-513- 5813 and leave a message. He will get back to you with dates, places and times.
Not only is the public responding, they are helping out in other ways. Many who are not union members are bringing food and ice water to the picket lines constantly.
MEDIATION EFFORT REJECTED
Todd Schnuck rebuffed an earlier effort by UFCW Local 655 President David Cook to try and mediate the dispute before the boycott was launched, the Labor Tribune learned.
“I am sorely disappointed that it has come to this,” Cook said. “There are brother and sister members in the Teamsters union as well as my own local union that are negatively effected.“
OPTIONS FOR SHOPPING
Teamsters Local 688 reminds the public that there are many other union stores both in Missouri and Southern Illinois that are not impacted by the Teamsters Boycott: Dierbergs, Shop ‘n Save, Straubs and a number of independent markets represented by both Local 655 and Meatcutters Local 88.