Automated Warehouses: How To Beat this Nonunion Threat

March 25, 2011: The warehouse where C&S is moving Teamster work from across the East is not just a nonunion warehouse. It’s an automated warehouse.

In this multi-million dollar facility, work normally performed by a thousand Teamsters can be done by around 150 employees.

Automated technology is used to select cases, prepare orders, and wrap pallets. This technology is a scary job-killer. But C&S has an Achilles heel.

C&S is a third-party provider. Grocery chains hire C&S to run their warehouse distribution work on the cheap. But grocery chains can also drop C&S if it becomes a liability to their stores.

The stores are the weak link in the chain and have to be the focus of any successful campaign.

Store managers responded to leafleting by Teamster locals by calling their chains and demanding that something be done to solve the C&S problem so Teamster leafleters would get out of their parking lots and away from their customers.

To be fully effective, leafleting has to be chain-wide, sustainable and linked with an effective corporate campaign that threatens the chain’s brand name—whether that’s A&P, Pathmark, Giant, Tops, or Stop n Shop.

That means the International Union has to lead the charge and back up local Teamsters, not leave them hanging in the breeze.

Our union can fight back and win against C&S. But local union mobilization has to be backed by real resources, not lip service, from the IBT.

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