Local 688 Schnucks Struggle Heads to NLRB


The Teamsters’ long-running struggle with Schnucks market chain in St. Louis – over the firm’s hiring of a subcontractor for its new warehouse who is firing almost 200 union members – is headed for a National Labor Relations Board judge on Sept. 7.

That day, the St. Louis Labor Tribune reports, the board’s administrative law judge will start taking testimony on two labor law-breaking charges. One says the firm is discriminating against union hand-billers. That violates workers’ free speech, Teamsters Local 688 says.

The other says an Alton, Ill., store manager ejected a Teamster shopper for wearing a T-shirt protesting the firings, after threatening to call police if the shopper did not leave. “This is clearly a violation of our free speech rights,” Local 688 Chief Executive Officer Mike Goebel told the Labor Tribune.

Both charges grow out of Local 688’s struggle with the supermarket chain over staffing its new warehouse in north St. Louis. Schnucks solicited and got union support for state aid to build the facility, with a promise that it would keep Local 688 workers.

Instead, it hired a subcontractor who declared the unionists – who toiled at the old, outmoded warehouse – would lose their jobs, and that it would go non-union in the new facility. The first firings were on July 31, with later rounds scheduled for this and next month.

The firings also break the local’s contract with Schnucks, which says that if the jobs move, the workers do, too. The whole sequence led to Teamsters’ peaceful hand-billing in front of Schnucks stores, the firm’s discrimination against union hand-billers, and the complaint to the NLRB. Meanwhile, area consumers are taking their business elsewhere.