Times says workers want out of union
The supermarket chain says more than half of its union workers want out of the Teamsters
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Times Super Market says it has petitions that show most of its union employees no longer want the Hawaii Teamsters & Allied Workers Local 996 to represent them.
John Quinn, owner of Times, said the company had nothing to do with the petitions, but issued a press release yesterday announcing them.
The company says 65 out of 116 Teamsters workers at Times have signed the petitions in an effort to end a boycott effort the union launched nearly a month ago.
The Teamsters called for a public boycott In mid-January, because the company was not hiring back the majority of the workers who went on strike Dec. 17.
Sandy Kanemura, spokes-woman for the Teamsters, said the union has not yet seen the actual petitions, which must go through a verification process.
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Times Super Market is striking back at the union that has been calling for a boycott of the supermarket for nearly a month now.
Times yesterday issued a statement saying that 65 union employees -- or more than half of the Hawaii Teamsters who work for Times -- have signed petitions to decertify the union from representing them.
The petitions were presented to Times' human resources director Monday morning.
John Quinn, owner of Times, said the company had nothing to do with the petitions, but believes the boycott is what pushed union workers over the edge.
"The majority has made a choice to reject the union leadership's new tactics," said Quinn "They've courageously taken a stand on why they no longer can follow the leadership."
Sandy Kanemura, spokes-woman for the Teamsters, said Times has notified the union, but the union has not yet seen the actual petitions, which will go through a verification process.
"This is not unexpected," she said. "The union did believe this was the company's agenda all along."
The Hawaii Teamsters & Allied Workers Local 996 represents 116 meat cutters, wrappers and fish cutters, about 10 percent of 1,100 workers at Times. The remainder of Times employees are nonunion.
In mid-January, the Teamsters called for a public boycott because the company was not hiring back the majority of the 116 workers who originally went on strike Dec. 17.
While Times said it had to make adjustments during the strike, the Teamsters said the supermarket chain had lost its sense of ohana.
Only 33 were recalled in mid-January, leaving the rest in the lurch. Deli clerks' positions were permanently eliminated.
To date, Times has recalled 40 workers, and 38 have since returned to work for the supermarket chain, said Bob Stout, Times' director of operations. The other two are on medical leave.
Raynard Smith, meat manager at the Waimalu Times, said he started rounding up union members for the petition because he felt the boycott was hurting, rather than helping, their cause.
Smith said the meat department is shorthanded, and needs help.
"The company was starting to recall workers," said Smith, a 38-year employee of Times. "They couldn't hire new replacement workers, and this boycott couldn't help."
But the union says its boycott efforts will continue.
Teamsters president Ron Kozuma believes the majority of members stll want to be represented by the union, Kanemura said.
Times, originally founded by the Teruya family in 1949, was sold to Quinn Supers, a subsidiary of PAQ Inc. of Stockton, Calif., six years ago. PAQ operates a chain of Food4Less stores in Northern California.
The original labor dispute centered around how long the company should pay medical premiums for employees on extended leave, guaranteed 40-hour work weeks, as well as plans to do away with an annuity-based retirement plan.
Times is hiring at all its stores on Oahu, with various part-time positions listed on its Web site -- from cashiers to front end supervisors, produce clerks and servers.