UFCW Local 88 members authorize strike at Schnucks ‘should it become necessary’


St. Louis – Members of Meat, Seafood & Deli Workers (UFCW) Local 88 rejected a contract offer from Schnucks grocery stores in Missouri and Illinois last week and authorized a strike “should it become necessary” as negotiations continue.

Members voted to reject the company’s contract offer and authorized union leadership to call for a strike at a meeting to review the company’s contract offer on June 21.

Local 88 is asking for higher wages, paid sick leave and more money in its healthcare fund.

Local 88 President Dan Telle said the company’s latest offer would not only jeopardize the member’s health care plan, but fails to offer competitive wages for their hard work.

“Dissolving our healthcare fund is not an option and the wage package should reflect the true definition of ‘FAIR PAY,’” Telle said.

Fair pay includes more than just wages, Telle said, it includes paid sick days and holiday pay.

Local 88 members are the only departmentalized group at Schnucks not eligible for sick days, Telle said. They also don’t get an hourly wage increase for working on a holiday, such as the Fourth of July.

“There are 1,242 Local 88 members working at Schnucks,” Telle said, “and only 57 receive any extra pay for working on a holiday.”

Local 88’s health and welfare plan is a self-insured fund that covers 11 employers with approximately 2,000 participants. The plan had 10.2 months worth of reserves at the end of the last fiscal year. Telle said union is asking for more money to protect against the rising cost of medical care, estimated at about 7.5 percent a year.

Schnucks has offered no increase in its payments to the fund, Telle said, and without them the funds’ reserves are expected to drop to 4.42 months by the end of the proposed three-year contract, leaving the fund at risk of insolvency should it be hit with a couple of high dollar claims.

“Even though we make low wages for the job we do, we have good healthcare, and they’re putting that in jeopardy,” Telle said.

Local 88 is also asking for wage increases to bring members into parity with the wages paid to members of UFCW Local 655 doing the same work.

Depending on the job, Local 88 members earn up to $3.05 an hour less than their counterparts in Local 655, Telle said.

“The Local 655 people deserve all of the raises that they get, as all of you do,” he told members. “There is nothing we have asked for in this contract that is out of line. We’ve got to have some parity with wages.”

Local 88 members are demanding better from Schnucks, which prides itself on being a family-owned business.

“We have served our customers and our community through one of the most difficult times in our country’s history,” said Lavon Warren who works at a Schnucks store in St. Louis. “We have earned and deserve competitive wages and benefits for our hard work.”


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