Tensions Grow In Teamsters/AWG Conflict
April 7, 2000
A southern Missouri town has canceled an Easter egg hunt and Oklahoma workers are being replaced after staying home in a sympathy strike as the Teamsters union continues to picket Associated Wholesale Grocers facilities in Springfield, MO, and Kansas City, KS.
Strafford, MO, called off this year's Easter Egg hunt, citing what organizers perceived as a potentially volatile situation. "There is a chance unpleasantness may erupt at large public gatherings at this time," the committee said in a news release. "We will not endanger any children nor make them witness to adults acting in anger."
In response, the Teamsters joined forces with the town's Booster Club and the Parent-Teacher Assn. to hold an Easter egg hunt of their own.
AWG locked out 1,200 Teamster truck drivers and warehouse workers on April 1 in Springfield and Kansas City. The union's contract had expired, and the company decided to use outside non-union contractors to handle its warehousing and transportation activities in an effort to be more efficient.
In Oklahoma City, which still has another year on its contract, about 200 union employees of AWG walked off the job in support of the Missouri and Kansas workers. The company has already started hiring permanent replacement workers for them, an act the Teamsters Local says is unfair and illegal.
The Oklahoma City warehouse was picketed by workers from Springfield last week. Oklahoma City workers are forbidden from participating in the demonstration by their contract, but showed their support by staying home.