Tuesday, July 14, 2009

UFCW Local 880 is Picking on Henry Nemenz




I would like to thank Don Shilling and the Vindicator for publishing an article Sunday regarding the United Food and Commercial Worker union's picketing of Henry Nemenz's grocery stores. UFCW Local 880 has made a habit of placing informational pickets outside grocery stores owned by Mr. Nemenz and ignoring other non-union stores. These pickets inform shoppers the stores are not union shops. They have done so at his Hubbard IGA location (now closed), Sharon Sav-a-Lot, Poland Sav-a-Lot and his Struthers location.

As a resident of Hubbard I was embarassed to see paid picketers ruin a business in the community. Mr. Nemenz took over a closed store, the former Patton's IGA, and became the anchor for McConnells' plaza. He invested money in upgrading the store, hired Hubbard residents and gave people on the west side of town a place to shop. UFCW Local 880 members helped put those people out of work by driving away customers. Now those Hubbard residents have to work elsewhere, the city lost tax revenue and McConnell's plaza has a large, unoccupied store where a thriving business once stood. They did this even as the recession was beginning to grip the area.

We know UFCW Local 880 is picking on Mr. Nemenz because they ignore other non-union stores like Hubbard's Shop & Save and Brookfield's Mr. D's. I believe the union is infuriated that Mr. Nemenz has carved out a profitable niche in the local grocery economy and has done so without their assistance. These informational pickets have gone on for years. We all understand that the stores are not union shops. And you know what? We don't care.

One of the greatest things I have seen was the friends and families of Hubbard IGA workers stage counter pickets against the UFCW Local 880 in Hubbard. They kicked them off their sidewalk by showing up early in support of the workers and showed the union that they wouldn't be bullied. Perhaps it's time to do so again. The comments section of the Vindicator story has a thread where people are considering counter picktes at the Poland and Struthers locations. A way of telling UFCW Local 880 that their paid picketers are not the only ones who can voice an opinion. We did it in Hubbard so it can be done elsewhere. After all, this Local does not own the sidewalk and they certainly do not have any more right to it than those who want to oppose their bullying tactics.

6 comments:

SUPPORTING REAL VALUE said...

The pension fund of the UFCW is in shambles and underfunded . Well, not for the hierarchy of the UFCW . Theirs is funded at 100% . Why is it that the rank and file have lesser value ?

The picketing is all about creating a greater market share for Giant Eagle and supporting atrocious pricing . They cant compete with good food and low prices . I save enough in one month by shopping IGA and Save A Lot to drive ny car for two months .

My union friend mondo50200 can be found in total confusion on the internet trying to find support for UFCW Local 880 . The main support that he has gotten so far has been from spandex . I am worried that the UFCW will soon find him of no use and he will go off the deep end .

Anonymous said...

To the poster above, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks for his part in removing prounion posts from our local paper's website. Here is a video just for him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWmCPDzPSg4

enjoy Stan

UFCW Union Facts said...

My good friend mondo50200:

Your link is old news as we have already heard about the birth of your brother . I trust he wasn't hurt when he hit the grass .

Kim said...

I know this is an older link & may coment may be too little, too late, BUT ... I was searching for something else and found my way back to your blog. Knowing I've posted here before, I just want to add a level of information as a former 880 member.

The reason for the pickets is contractual. IF non union competition is in the area and the union does "nothing" to help union employers compete, the management can demand wage cuts for the members. The union pays the picketers to make protect the wages of all the workers. It is nearly impossible to staff a volunteer, let alone paid, picket line 24 hours which is why there is usually only one regional target.

Just a little insight into the reasoning behind the picket lines. Protecting a fair wage for hard workers.

Mike Prelee said...

Kim, I appreciate your comments but the residents of Hubbard were almost stuck with an empty building due to these pickets. Once Nemenz closed down no grocer would reopen at that location. Thank goodness Sharon regional invested in that building and turned it into a diagnostic center.

I still haven't seen a single picketer across town at Shop 'n Save so I think that's proof the union has a personal problem with Mr. Nemenz and not just an obligation to protect wages.

Anonymous said...

I can remember in Green, OH UFCW 880 picketed a non-union Giant Eagle. It's now a union store with good wages and a great contributor to its community.