Scab operator sues Schnucks
By ED FINKELSTEIN
It was predicted.
Schnucks Markets ignored the warnings of Teamsters Local 688 that they were being “penny wise and dollar foolish” by firing more than 200 skilled warehouse workers and manning their newly built North County warehouse with scabs. Now Schnucks is paying the price:
- A $1.3 million lawsuit filed has been filed for not paying for services by the scab firm hired to run the new warehouse, XPO Logistics.
- Customer anger as shortages continue on their stores’ shelves.
- A continued boycott by Teamsters Local 688, protesting the callous firing of veteran Teamsters with 20-30 years of service being replaced by scabs at the new warehouse.
- XPO Logistics, of Greenwich, CN, told state officials that by April 20, it will lay off the people it hired to run the 915,000 square-foot warehouse, including 119 at the warehouse, 46 in Hazelwood and 39 in Vinita Park.
Local 688 says it’s willing to meet with Schnucks to help it win back customer satisfaction and loyalty by rehiring those fired veteran warehouse workers.
“We warned Schnucks they had the right people to do the job in the first place and should have transferred them to the new warehouse but obviously were ignored,” Local 688 Chief Executive Officer Mike Goebel said.
“The quickest way to solve this issue is to sit down and negotiate rehiring their veteran workers,” Goebel said. The company has not responded to the union’s offer to meet.
The union is negotiating a new agreement for those remaining at the old warehouse. That contract expires this July 17.
Schnucks spokesman Paul Simon said the company is trying to find a new operator for the warehouse for an “orderly and seamless transition.”
DRAGGING IN A CONTRACTOR
Additionally, XPO is trying to indirectly drag a quality local contractor, Clayco Construction, into the fray by claiming that deficiencies in the construction work prevented XPO from effectively doing their job. Clayco is not part of the lawsuit.
XPO alleges the new warehouse had leaking roofs, non-functioning bathrooms, a lack of physical security systems, an inadequate number of computers, condensation in the produce shipping area and “corrupted” software in the inventory control system.
Clayco is a nationally respected quality construction firm that hires skilled union tradesmen known for doing the job right the first time.
Bob Clark, CEO of Clayco, said in a statement, “These allegations are without merit and appear to be more arm flailing and bad excuses for not keeping their commitments to Schnucks. None of our work had a material impact on their inability to provide competent services per their agreement with Schnucks.”
XPO also accuses Schnucks of not providing it with the information it needed to efficiently run the new warehouse, such as operating manuals on the handling and processing of inventory.
All this from an international firm that handles warehouse management across the world, claiming operations in 34 countries and 1,425 locations!
Despite warnings by Teamsters Local 688 to Schnucks senior management that the scabs at their new North County warehouse could not do the job, Schnucks last year fired more than 200 Teamsters and some 30 management people working at their current warehouse.
Schnucks still has slightly more than 100 Teamsters working at their old warehouse, trying to meet the growing demands to get what products they still manage to store shelves.
Almost immediately after transferring distribution responsibilities to the new scab warehouse, the Labor Tribune reported that customer complaints surfaced that there was no fresh produce, product shelves were empty in the stores and chaos reigned in the new warehouse.
(Some information from STL Today and St. Louis Business Journal.)