At Wawa, Keep Talking

Posted: October 07, 1999

With tensions running high on the pickets lines, a good cup of Wawa coffee would go great about now. On second thought, maybe not . . .

Let's hope both sides in the four-day-old dispute between Wawa Food Markets and striking Teamsters find some way to clear their heads when talks get going again. And the sooner the better.

The two sides had narrowed their differences even before the Sunday walkout. Only pension rights and overtime for Sunday work held up a contract, we're told.

For now, though, the walkout complicates a bit the average Wawa customer's daily dash for caffeine. Two judicial rulings limiting picketing were expected, and should be complied with - for safety's sake. The injury of one Teamster struck by a car that pulled into Wawa's Delaware County headquarters was one injury too many.

That said, it did seem - at first blush - that Delaware County Judge Joseph F. Battle had gone overboard in limiting to three minutes the conversations of picketers with anyone coming or going from the Wawa distribution site. Talk fast, or you lose your free-speech rights? Uh-uh.

But Judge Battle clarified his order yesterday, saying he wants to prevent truckers' rigs from backing up onto busy Baltimore Pike, should picketers bend the ear of every driver. OK, as long as it's clear his order does not apply to Wawa stores. Time limits should not apply there; nor on the talks needed to settle this strike.

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