The Monday night Schnucks union employee vote was an overwhelming rejection of the grocers latest contract offer to St. Louis area workers.
The 89 percent of employees who cast no ballots not only shunned the three year agreement, they also authorized a strike. Major concerns include potential cuts to pensions, lower salary caps for incoming employees and a more difficult path from part-time to full-time status.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655 spokesperson Collin Reischman thinks it’s hard to overstate how bad the contract is. “I have no qualms about saying on the record that, look, this is an atrocious contract” said Reischman. “It’s bad across the board. It’s far more bad than good. And I think that’s reflected by the huge vote we got. When almost 90 percent of over 2,000 people that show up vote against it, that’s pretty resounding. If somebody won the presidency by 89 percent, you’d be like, wow, that’s quite the mandate. It’s huge.” 1,934 of 2,194 casting ballots Monday voted no.
The rejected contract also would’ve capped paid vacation at two weeks for new hires, and would’ve potentially opened the door to the hiring of more non-union employees for management positions.
The union says it doesn’t want workers to strike immediately, but wants to keep its options open if expected upcoming negotiations fall through.
Company CEO Todd Schnuck claims the grocer wants to satisfy worker needs, but needs to stay competitive with the 580 non-union stores it competes against.
In a statement, Schnuck said “As we’ve said before, taking care of our people and delivering the kind of shopping experience our customers want and deserve is what’s most important. Success in those two areas is what has made Schnucks the choice for our customers for more than 75 years, and it is how we will succeed going forward.”
The labor breakdown only affects 4,500 union Schnucks employees in the metro St. Louis area.