Teamsters Local 245 Business Manager Jim Kabell apologized for a "lapse of judgment" in his actions at a Monett, MO, grocery store last week that resulted in legal charges.
Kabell said he did not intend to damage food or violate a restraining order when he went into the Ramey Supermarket. Ramey's is one of the stores served by Associated Wholesale Grocers, which locked out Teamsters workers at its Springfield, MO, and Kansas City, KS, locations April 1.
Kabell was charged with several misdemeanors after he entered the store, loaded the shopping cart with $93.29 worth of produce, ice cream and bread, then piled cans and other heavy items on top before leaving the cart in an aisle. The ice cream was melted, the bread and produce crushed.
In addition to apologizing, he wrote two checks for $93.29 each to cover the cost of the groceries and of replacing them. He said he went into the store to check out rumors that the shelves were poorly stocked. He filled a cart trying to look like a regular customer, and abandoned the cart when he was done.
More violence has also erupted in the conflict between the union and AWG, which replaced its union truck drivers and dock workers with non-union, outside contractors. Teamster Tom Evel of Fair Grove, MO, said he was battered in a fight with a security guard early Thursday morning outside AWG's Springfield warehouses.
According to Evel, guards and picketers were exchanging words when one of the guards hit him. Other picketers said the guard stepped across the painted line that separated the protesters from the warehouse and hit Evel again.
In Kansas City, picketers say they were attacked by replacement workers the same day. Wayne Davis of Gardner, KS, said he and other Teamsters picketers were exchanging words with a carload of replacement workers. The car suddenly stopped and came back toward the picketers. Davis said one of the men got out of the car and hit him in the face with a "Club" theft-prevention device. A fight erupted.
CS Integrated, which is now providing the warehouse services for AWG, said it is investigating the incident and that it would not tolerate such activity by employees.