How Not to Fight the Nonunion Competition

March 25, 2011: Hoffa turned his back on grocery Teamsters fighting the nonunion competition and 1,300 members in New Jersey have lost their jobs.

Now hundreds more jobs are on the chopping block in Maryland/D.C.

The time to fight is now.

For more than a decade, the Hoffa administration has turned a blind eye to the growing nonunion threat in the warehouse distribution industry.

Now Teamster members are paying the price.

As we go to press, C&S, the largest third-party warehouse distribution company in the country, has announced it will close the Giant Foods warehouse distribution center in the Washington D.C. area unless they get $26 million in concessions per year. That’s $40,000 in concessions per union employee.

If C&S isn’t stopped, 650 more union members will lose their jobs.

Last month, C&S closed its A&P/Pathmark operations in New Jersey and 1,300 Teamsters lost their jobs.

C&S first announced its plans to eliminate these Teamster jobs and move the work to nonunion facilities in Pennsylvania and Chester, N.Y. in April, 2010.

While local unions mobilized to take on the nonunion threat, the Hoffa administration dragged its feet for a year. New Jersey Teamsters Local 863 got little support.

In Washington, the International Union has launched a website called “Justice at Giant”—promising a Labor/Community campaign to save these Teamster jobs.

However last-minute, this campaign deserves the support of every Teamster member—and the full backing of our International Union.

Local Action, IBT Inaction

Teamster local unions have been asking the IBT to help organize Labor/Community action for a year.

A coalition of local unions came together last year to take on the nonunion C&S threat. Teamsters began leafleting A&P, Pathmark and other stores to put pressure on C&S by reaching out to customers.

The campaign started to work. Store managers complained to the chains to do something about the C&S problem that was costing them customers.

The International Union undermined the local unions at every turn. Hoffa administration officials told local officials to stop fighting to save Teamster jobs and to settle for a severance package instead.

The IBT instructed local officers to call off their campaign and stop leafleting stores. Local officers refused and demanded International Union support.

As the crisis reached a peak, Hoffa administration officials agreed to hold conference calls, but never moved a plan of action.

The Threat Continues

If C&S isn’t stopped, 2,000 good jobs will be lost to the company’s nonunion operations. And C&S isn’t done. Next, the company plans to eliminate Teamster jobs in warehouses in Boston Local 25 and Buffalo Local 264.

“We’re already losing work,” said Jim York, a Local 25 member at Stop n Shop. “We have members willing to fight and get involved. But there’s no plan for dealing with C&S coming out of the IBT.”

The threat facing grocery Teamsters in the East is dire. But it’s not too late.

Our union needs a decisive plan of action backed by the full resources and commitment of the International.

C&S is serious about eliminating Teamster jobs. Is our union as serious about saving them?

Click here to read more about Taking on the Nonunion Competition.

Click here to read more about Automated Warehouses.


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