Local News

Jun 2, 2010 10:14 PM by Ariel Wesler

Doc Burnstein's supporters rally for a response

Community members in Arroyo Grande staged a counter protest today rallying behind Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Lab.

The Carpenter's Union has been demonstrating across the street from Doc Burnstein's for the last seven months. It's upset about a new location being built in Santa Maria using non-union workers, but doc burnstein's says that was the mall's decision, not theirs.

With picket signs in hand, supporters of Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Lab in Arroyo Grande were on a fact-finding mission. They marched down to the Local Carpenter's Union Hall demanding answers.

"Talk to us! Talk to us," they shouted.

"He's always involved in charity work and it's unthinkable that a group of anyone would want to bring harm to him," said Al Brill of Arroyo Grande.

Doc Burnstein's and other area businesses are frustrated with the picketers who won't talk, won't go away and are hurting local business.

It's really difficult with having somebody who's constantly picketing across the street and who actually harasses people as they walk by," said Tim McKinney, who owns a tutoring business in the village.

This time, the union protesters were no shows across the street and at Union Hall--where this sign said they would return by 1pm.

"They're like cockroaches. They run under a rock when you shine a light on them," Brill said.

So, I went back at 1:30pm. They ignored me, but let this construction worker in just minutes later. Doc's founder and owner Greg Steinberger says the union picketing is protected under freedom of speech and his only option would be a slander lawsuit.

"My big fear is that as a small business, if i file a legal action against the union, their union lawyers and their deep pockets are probably just going to crush my business," Steinberger said.

"It's like our little village has been invaded and the people out here, whether they're union or non-union, we're all together here.

The protest remained peaceful. Afterwards, everyone returned to doc burnstein's for a free taste of what they do best. . .ice cream.

In February, a coalition of unions came out in support of Doc Burnstein's and bought ice cream for the public.

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