Long-time valley grocer Henry Nemenz says three-years of union picketing and a lack of community support is behind the decision to close his Sav-A-Lot store in Poland this week. The store has 25 employees. Nemenz says while there are other non-union stores in the valley - the Food and Commercial Workers continue to target his small businesses. The union says it's not picketing to organize Nemenz employees, but to discourage people from shopping at non-union stores.
The checkout line for a Hubbard grocery store may be delayed. It was slated to close, but a last-second push may provide enough momentum to save it.
Tonight their was an outpouring of support for the Nemenz I-G-A grocery store in Hubbard. More than 100 residents flooded city council chambers tonight in an effort to save the store. Protesters have been picketing outside the store on a daily basis since last September.
The reason? Store employees say it's because the picketers want them to join the union. Henry Nemenz reopened the store last April after the former owners shut the grocery store down in February. Then in September picketers from the union that used to work in the store set up shop in front of the store, upset because the new store in not a union.
Once that happened Nemenz says he lost 40% of his business, forcing him to close the store after continued lost profits. But after tonight's rally at city council, Nemenz says he'll do what he can to keep the store open.
Hundreds of Hubbard residents showed up at tonight's city council meeting wondering if anything could be done to save the store. They don't want to have a longer drive to get groceries and feel the competition only helps with prices.
City council will also see if there is anything they can do legally to help save the store. In the meantime city council will call members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and invite them to their next meeting to ask them why they're trying to shut down the store. That meeting will be held Monday September 15th. None of the picketers showed up to speak tonight at the meeting.
Save-A-Lot in Poland has been open for four years, but at the end of the day Wednesday, it will close its doors for the final time.
"The volume has not increased, especially in the past year," said owner Henry Nemenz. "It has kind of declined a little. We're not sure if it was the picketing that caused some of it."
The picketing Nemenz is talking about involved United Food and Commercial Worker Local 880 members. They set up informational pickets about a year ago.
"The purpose of the pickets is to truthfully advise the public that the Nemenz stores being picketed, and indeed all Nemenz grocery stores are non-union stores and anti-union stores," said Tom Roberston President of local 880. "Local 880 does not want to see any grocery store close. Local 880 wants to see all grocery employers treat their employees fairly by providing them with jobs that pay living wages and benefits."
This isn't the first time that the UFCW has set up in front of a Nemenz store. Just last year in Hubbard, Henry Nemenz closed an IGA that was being picketed.
Customers in Poland said that union or non-union, they're just upset there is one less choice for grocery shopping.
"I'll miss it, because I shop at both stores. It's a shame," said June Young, who lives in Poland
All 25 workers in Poland will be transferred to other Nemenz stores
Ms or Mr kenisin4u, you sound like a villan from an old Marvel Comic. Firstl, no you don't own more than anyone else on earth. Secondly, if you did you would not be lurking about in this cyber pasttime. You would have already corrected the wrong.
My suggestion is go back to your comic books and let the sword rattling to the real shakers and movers. IMHO