Taking a page from economic policy changes happening at the national level, East End cabbage cutters, represented by their union, the Association of Cabbage Workers Local 102, took to the streets on Saturday to demand protective tariffs on sauerkraut and coleslaw shipped in from outside producers.
Hamptons Police Department officers were standing by to control crowds and make sure the protest didn’t get out of hand.
Gerard Blumkopf, a foreman on the cabbage shredding line at Maynard’s Pickle and Kraut Works in Jamesport, and a shop steward with the union, spoke to the crowds and articulated their demands.
“We want a 25% tariff on sauerkraut and a 10% tariff on coleslaw if it’s produced west of Remsenburg!,” Blumkopf shouted. “There are big conglomerates out there that get their materials at rock-bottom prices and have robots that produce more cabbage-related products than the world could possibly use—then they dump those products out here on the East End in an effort to drive our producers out of business.”
Literature distributed at the rally illustrated the decimation of the East End sauerkraut and coleslaw industries resulting from this dumping. However, Blumkopf explained that the tariffs are more important than just saving jobs, noting that the weakening of cabbage-related industries on the East End endangers our security.
“We’ve all seen how shortages of coleslaw have reached crisis levels, especially in the summer,” Blumkopf said. “That’s because we’re dependent on outside slaw for our supplies.”
Blumkopf noted that both 2016 and 2017 saw coleslaw supplies slip to dangerously low levels on the East End, and riot conditions had resulted from customers being unable to get their hands on this essential summer condiment. Blumkopf expressed confidence that the tariff plan would put an end to these worries.
“As soon as we can compete, you’ll see local producers ramping up to meet whatever demand there may be. The result will be health and prosperity for all,” Blumkopf said.
The protest dispersed without incident.