All 231 veteran employers have been fired; boycott grows stronger
By ED FINKELSTEIN
In a dramatic turn of events, Teamster boycott handbillers are now able to stand in front of almost two dozen Schnucks stores where the entire shopping center is not owned by Schnucks but instead a third party.
This new tactic is the result of Teamsters Local 688 filing their original unfair labor practice charge against Schnucks that prevented them from picketing in front of stores. During discovery, the National Labor Relations Board forced the company to provide all documents relating to the boycott picketing.
In those documents, the Teamsters discovered that Schnucks did not have permission from shopping centers where it has stores but doesn’t own the property to force its handbillers off the owners’ properties, a violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
The union then filed charges against one shopping center owner, Felfam Oakville, LLC, the company owning the Oakville Center where Schnucks has a major store.
In response, Felfam, in writing, agreed to allow handbilling in front of the Schnuck stores, in compliance with the NLRA, as long as it does not “affect safety or disrupt traffic flow.”
This opened the door to handbilling other centers because Schnucks had no agreement with those center’s owners either to keep handbillers off their properties.
As a result, Teamsters began handbilling the Oakville Center Schnucks in South County on Telegraph Road the first weekend in October. Similar handbilling is expected at 11 other stores on properties not owned by Schnucks.
It’s now clear that Schnucks exceeded its authority in forcing police to remove handbillers from all their stores because they did not own the entire shopping center, Teamsters Business Representative Mike Schlueter tells the Labor Tribune.
“It’s shameful the way Schnucks has lied to the public, lied to us and lied to the local police forces, by their actions implying they had the landlords’ permissions to run us off the properties when they never did,” Schlueter added.
Even knowing this, in defiance of the law, Oakville store manager Kevin Linhurst called police to try to remove the legal boycotters, Schlueter said. He failed once Schlueter showed the police officers a letter from Felfam giving the Teamsters the right to be there.
ALL TEAMSTERS HAVE BEEN FIRED
“This is a great step forward in our effort to bring justice to more than 200 Teamsters and 30 management staff that Schnucks has summarily fire in violation of their contract,” said Local 688 Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mike Goebel.
Oct. 2 was the final workday for all Teamsters at the Schnucks warehouse. All deliveries to the stores are being handled by the company’s new scab warehouse in North County. Initially there was a substantial delay in the firings because the scab warehouse could not make deliveries to the stores. For almost a month, products sent to the scab warehouse had to be sent back to the union stores for distribution.
Attorneys for both sides have to file briefs by Oct. 19 on the union’s unfair labor practice charge at the National Labor Relations Board that Schnucks firing are in violation of their contract which clearly states that the members to with the jobs. A hearing on the charge was held last month.
Musicians set up on picket line to support Teamsters handbillers
Last weekend Teamsters Local 688 boycott handbillers got a pleasant surprise… and great lift in their spirits when five members of Musicians Local 2-197 set up at the Cottleville store boycott line and entertained boycotters.
They were musicians from the Fox, the Muny and the Symphony.
“Wow, it was fantastic,” said Local 688 Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mike Goebel. “Our members – and the public – were surprised and very pleased with this incredible show of support from the Musicians. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”
Members of dozens of unions have joined the Teamsters on their boycott lines.
The boycott has already cost Schnucks tens of millions of dollars in business. Union clerks at Dierbergs, Shop ‘n Save and Straubs report substantial business increases.