Schnucks firings begin; support for workers is strong

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OUT OF A JOB as the firing of Teamsters Local 688 members begins this Sunday, but, aided by strong public support, Teamsters are hanging tough on informational picket lines at Schnucks stores around the region to take their message to the public. And it’s working. Business is down at many Schnucks stores. – Todd Varady photo
OUT OF A JOB as the firing of Teamsters Local 688 members begins this Sunday, but, aided by strong public support, Teamsters are hanging tough on informational picket lines at Schnucks stores around the region to take their message to the public. And it’s working. Business is down at many Schnucks stores. – Todd Varady photo

Teamsters again thank volunteers on picket lines

By ED FINKELSTEIN

Publisher

The hurt began Sunday, July 31 as Schnuck Markets begins the first round of firings of Teamsters Local 688 warehouse workers.

The second round of kicking its veteran workers to the street is scheduled for Aug. 21, and the last firings are scheduled for Sept.11.

Noted one Local 688 picketer on Facebook: “We know we’re losing our jobs in a few weeks. I honestly think that this town will be looking at this company a whole lot different. Never had any intentions on hurting a company we work for (but) they drew first blood. Now it’s time we stop the bleeding! God bless.”

“It’s a tragic situation for these men and women and their families,” said Local 688 Chief Executive Officer Mike Goebel. “We’ve tried to work with this company, but they simply refuse to sit down over this issue. But the fight is not over. There are several pending issues that could dramatically and substantially bolster the results of our continuing boycott.”

BOYCOTT EFFECTIVE

And effective it is.

  • Word on the street from reliable sources is that business in many stores in north and south St. Louis County is down 10 to 20 percent, while others in west county have seen less impact.
  • Both Dierbergs and Shop ‘n Save are seeing substantial increases in their business.
  • Empty parking lots at many of the Schnucks stores at prime shopping hours reflect the continuing impact of the boycott.

Kirkwood-Station-Dental-2x8-clrBut the movement of product to a new north county warehouse has already begun, and the current warehouse is full of empty shelves, warehouse workers point out in online posts and photos.

“It’s now getting real for workers,” one warehouseman said.

Added Nathan Reeves: “Candy Tent is 100 percent empty; product shipped to the new warehouse ... this is when everything starts to sink in. That candy has been a part of my life for over 16 years.”

WORKERS STILL STRONG

But the spirit of the workers continues strong, Goebel said.

Noted picketer Paul Eaton, “Bill and Don got at least 15 to 20 cars to turn around and patronize another store that was really awesome. We handed out a lot of information flyers…”

Reeves also posted about customers turning around and not shopping at Schnucks: “In the two hours I was there after work, at least 11 people totally made a U-turn to shop somewhere else ... not bad considering how slow it was on a Sunday morning!

“Good support though ... at least 25 honks, 15 waves and 10 thumbs up ... only one thumbs down in an hour and a half. It was a success,” Reeves added.

Rotating boycott picketers continue each weekend unabated. Volunteers from other unions, retirees and concerned workers show up with food and water and take a shift to relieve picketers.

“We deeply appreciate the public’s support, and especially that of our union brothers and sisters,” Goebel said. “The saying about ‘United We Stand’ is seen on every picket line.”

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