Contact: Lori O. Willis and Michael Kaemmerer,
Council Spokespersons, 314-994-4602
October 13, 2003
Area Grocers Say Sales Are Trending Upward As Services And Hours Are Restored
ST. LOUIS -- Over the weekend, 95 Missouri Metro area Dierbergs, Schnucks and Shop `n Save stores reported sales ranging from slow to steady with many locations experiencing noticeable peaks in customer activity despite an on-going Local 655 work stoppage.
According to Michael Kaemmerer, spokesperson for The Greater St. Louis Food Employers Council, "Between the work stoppage and the reduced store hours, overall sales were down, but already stores show signs of rebounding, thanks to customers who have really stuck with us," he said. "Over the weekend, many additional departments (deli and bakery) were back in operation, and on Sunday, Oct. 12, new 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. store hours were announced.
Food employers are pleased at their progress to date. Kaemmerer explained, "This is uncharted territory for us, and while we would all like nothing more than for this work stoppage to end, we intend to stay focused on our customers and continue delivering the types of services they expect from us."
To-date, all three companies report that more than 7,000 temporary strike replacement workers have been hired and more are needed. "We are quite pleased with the numbers of people we have employed during these difficult economic times. Our temporary strike replacement workers are exceptional and performing well and, as many customers have commented, becoming more proficient each day."
At this time, no new negotiations have been scheduled and a swift resolution does not seem likely. In the meantime, Kaemmerer says that the plan is to continue expanding store hours as each site becomes better prepared to handle the full-spectrum of services. "Customers should watch the stores in their neighborhoods for signs that say hours have been increased. Our focus right now is getting back to the point where we deliver the high levels of services our customers expect."
The Greater St. Louis Food Employers Council was established in early 2003 for the purpose of bargaining as a unit. This is the first time all three employers have bargained jointly on a Local 655 contract. In early September, the Council and the Union reached a negotiated settlement, and Union President Bob Kelley recommended acceptance of the proposal to the more than 10,000 union associates. The work stoppage affects 21 Shop `n Save stores, 55 Schnucks stores and 19 Dierbergs in the St. Louis, Metro Missouri area.
Michael Kaemmerer, appointed spokesperson for the group, is experienced in labor negotiations. He is a partner with St. Louis-based McCarthy, Leonard, Kaemmerer, Owen & McGovern, L.C.
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