Local News

Feb 9, 2010 11:06 AM by Ariel Wesler

Unions will treat community to ice cream to support Doc Burnstein's in labor dispute

New information tonight in the labor dispute between a local carpenter's union and Doc Burnstein's ice cream shop.

A local organization, representing more than 30 trade unions has come out in support of Doc Burnstein's.

The Tri-Counties Building and Construction Trades Council will buy ice cream for anyone at Doc Burnstein's from 1-6 p.m. Friday February 26th.

Reprensentatives from Carpenters Local 150 have been protesting for more than three months. They're upset a new Doc Burnstein's construction site at the Santa Maria Town Center is using non-union workers.

"Probably there was enough community support, enough backlash. I mean, it really makes them look bad," said Marie Cavaletto, the Vice President of Doc Burnstein's.

The mall is paying for the drywall construction and says it chooses the best bid. Since the protests began, the ice cream shop says it's received several supportive phone calls from the community.

"I'm union strong but what these guys are doing is not right," Caveletto said she's heard during anonymous phone calls.

Some say the ice cream shop has become an easy target for union reps.

"It's not that we're against unions. It's just that some of their leaders don't know what their doing and to pick on this ice cream parlor is just ridiculous," said Otis Page of Arroyo Grande.

Now, a local organization representing more than 30 unions is working to sweeten the union image by buying ice cream for the community later this month. They say the Carpenters union is not part of AFL-CIO.

"They're wanting to do the free ice cream and in turn we're excited that we're going to be a part of educating people about what the union's really do," Cavaletto said.

Doc Burnstein's owner has already filed charges against the union with the National Labor Relations Board for protesting against a third party.

The owner of the Santa Maria Town Center works out of Los Angeles. He says this is a free market and he should be able to choose any sub contractor he wants. Looking at the bigger picture, he said, "I don't have to make the union better. I have to make the mall better."

Representatives from the Carpenter's union, who started protesting in October, did not return our calls for comment.

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