That's not amore

Categories: Business
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The last time Red's Savoy Pizza made headlines it was because Sen. Norm Coleman's 81-year-old father was discovered having sex with a woman half his age in the eatery's parking lot. Earlier this week, in fact, Norm Sr. pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was ordered by Ramsey County District Judge Kathleen Gearin to stay off the pizza parlor's premises for one year.


The impressively active octogenerian is not the only one consciously avoiding Red's Savoy these days however. Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union Local 17 has called for a boycott of the eatery. HERE organizer Martin Goff says the union voluntarily relinquished bargaining rights after a protracted contract dispute with the owner of the restaurant, Red Schoenheider. According to Goff, the employees ratified a new contract in August, but then Schoenheider renegged on the agreement.

The bargaining unit, which also includes employees at the White Bear Lake location of Red's Savoy, has roughly 35 members. HERE has represented workers at the restaurant for more than three decades. Goff says that some pizza cooks at the restaurant earn upwards of $14 an hour, plus health benefits. "They had a contract that was equal to the that of the St. Paul Hotel," he says.

Rather than continue haggling with the owner, Local 17 opted to call for a boycott. There are several union offices located in the immediate neighborhood of Red's Savoy and HERE hoped to put financial pressure on the pizza parlor by convincing their allies in organized labor to stop patronizing the restaurant. Local 17 also hoped to spur action from pro-union employees, but that hasn't happened.

"What we were trying to do was get the workers who did support the union to stand up but they were too afraid," Goff says. "If you don't get off your butt and fight we can't do anything for you."
Red Schoenheider, the 71-year-old owner of the pizza parlor, tells a different story. He says the employees simply didn't want the union representing them anymore. "The problem is that my employees threw 'em out," says Schoenheider, who has owned the restaurant on the eastern edge of downtown St. Paul for 47 years. "They don't like 'em. They don't want 'em any more. [Local] 17 is the dumbest, studidest union you'll ever see in your life."

Schoenheider insists that the boycott has not had an impact on the restaurant's business. "Business is better than ever," he says.

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