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Teamsters Say New VP Is Out to Punish Them

May 22, 1997|E. SCOTT RECKARD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Blaming vicious union politics, Teamsters at a soon-to-close Anaheim warehouse on Wednesday accused International Teamsters Vice President Eddie J. Mireles of trying to push them into a new work arrangement that would slash their pay and benefits.

Workers said they could lose up to 20 years' seniority when American Drug Stores, the parent of Sav-On drugstores and Lucky grocery stores, consolidates three warehouses, including the one in Anaheim, into a new La Habra facility.

The workers, members of Local 495 in Pico Rivera, said Mireles wants to force them to transfer from their unit to his Orange County local, which has the inferior contract, to punish them for backing a rival faction last year when Mireles was elected to his international office.

"He is going to screw us over because we didn't support him," said Mark Dewitt, a spokesman for Local 495.

The unit has more than 400 members at the Anaheim warehouse, handling drugs, shampoos, cosmetics and other pharmacy-related items. Its members generally supported James P. Hoffa, son of labor legend Jimmy Hoffa, in his unsuccessful bid for Teamsters president.

Mireles' Local 952, based in Orange, previously handled liquor and cigarettes for American Drug Stores out of a Fontana warehouse. Those jobs have already been moved to the La Habra warehouse, where about 200 Local 952 workers are employed.

Mireles said the jurisdictional dispute between locals will be settled at a soon-to-be-scheduled hearing by officials of the international union. He declined to discuss specific charges.

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