Dierbergs, Shop ‘n Save see business upticks
By ED FINKELSTEIN
The old proverb “One man’s loss is another man’s gain” is proving to be a truism in the ongoing boycott of Schnucks as unions end their shopping at Schnucks in support of the Teamsters Local 688 boycott and a manager at Dierbergs noted last week that his store has seen a strong uptick in business since the boycott began.
To date that the Labor Tribune is aware of:
- Fire Fighters Local 2665 (St. Louis County) and Local 73 (St. Louis City) members working from 118 fire houses in have moved their estimated annual food shopping of about $6.5 million from Schnucks to either Dierbergs or Shop ‘n Save or other neighborhood markets. Local 2665 Business Manager Jeff Proctor estimates that a fire house will average about $150 a day on food purchases. Realizing that each of the 118 fire houses operates, and feeds fire fighters on a 24/7 schedule, spending from all 118 fire houses is approximately $17,700 a day; annually the loss from the 118 fire houses is estimated at $6.5 million.
“Once a part of our everyday routine for on duty fire fighters and paramedics was a stop at the local Schnucks grocery store,” Proctor said. “You may notice that those trucks are now looking elsewhere for the food and essentials to get them through whatever the shift may bring.”
Added Local 73 President Demetris ‘Al’ Alfred: “We have stopped going to Schnucks and support the boycott.”
- Heat & Frost Insulators Local 1 – Business Manager John Stiffler said that the union annually buys $20,000 to $30,000 in Schnuck gift cards to give to volunteer picketers, retirees and members at various functions throughout the year. “No more.”
- Bricklayers and Allied Workers Administrative District Council buys over $7,500 in food, drinks and donuts for their annual Labor Day celebration on the union’s parking lot after the parade and gift certificates at Christmas time for members and retirees. “Not any more,” said Local 1 Business Manager Don Brown. “We respect the reason for the boycott and are supporting the efforts to save the several hundred families whose jobs are at stake.”
DIERBERGS GAINING BUSINESS
“About one in every 20 customers tells us they were former Schnucks customers,” a Dierbergs manager told the Labor Tribune. “We definitely are seeing more business.” And that, he said, “Is only those customers who make the effort to tell us they have changed their shopping habits. There are probably a lot more.”
While the corporate headquarters of both companies did not want to comment on the issue involving “a labor dispute,” the fact that Dierbergs is obviously seeing a substantial uptick in business according to a local manager, it’s fair to assume the same with Shop ‘n Save.
SOCIAL MEDIA MAKES THE POINT TOO
The responses on social media make the same point. One happy boycotter even posted his Shop ‘n Save receipt for $237.77 online for his Fourth of July celebration.
Another posted his weekly shopping receipt for $222.42 with the comment, “I will be shopping more at Shop ‘n Save and Dierbergs now. My mom said she would, too. She’s 83.”
And the boycott continues to gain new supporters.
Kristine Boercker posted: “Call corporate & let them know 314-994-9900. I called today told them I saw the boycott on fb and that I wouldn’t be shopping with them. Got to tell the story to different people. They are listening…”
Noted a Teamster warehouse worker Paul Eaton on Facebook:
“This was truly a great company to work for. Talking to my dad who retired from there a 21-year employee with Schnucks, he told me Don and Ed (founders brothers Don and Ed Schnuck) were truly great people coming in and talking to people in the warehouse, knowing everybody’s name. It’s sad to see this company come to this. I truly think that Schnucks will never be known as the friendliest stores in town again!”
Michael Szerzinski asked a very penetrating question: “I just have one question for the Schnuck family: Are they eliminating these decent jobs, which pay a fair and livable wage, to lower the price of food sold at their markets? Or, are they doing this to further line the pockets of CEO Todd Schnuck and his family?”
WHY THE BOYCOTT
The boycott is the effort of Teamsters Local 688 to save the jobs of 201 union warehouse workers (30 management employees are also getting the axe), who are being summarily fired July 24 by Schnucks for no other reason that when they open a new, larger warehouse in north county this summer, they want to man it with scabs earning $10 an hour, about half of what the union workers are earning.
Meanwhile, Teamsters 688, supported by volunteers from other unions, retirees’ clubs and Labor-friendly political leaders, continues its roving informational picket lines at Schnuck stores throughout the Greater St. Louis area.