Free ice cream at A.G. shop, thanks to trade group

Get ready to lick: Free ice cream is being served at an Arroyo Grande shop Friday.

The Tri-Counties Building and Construction Trades Council will buy ice cream for anyone who wants to support Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab in Arroyo Grande against a carpenter’s union that it says has been unfairly picketing the business since October.

The free ice cream will be available from 1 to 6 p.m. on Friday, courtesy of the union that is part of the AFL-CIO, the umbrella that represents more than 57 national and international labor unions.

“We want the public to know what the unions really stand for, and (they are) not associated with this tactic being employed by the Carpenter’s Union,” said Steven Weiner, executive secretary for the trades council, in a news release.

Picketers from the Camarillo-based Carpenters Local 150 union have been posted outside the ice cream shop for more than four months. They claim the labor dispute was launched because nonunion carpenters are being used to construct interior improvements at the Doc Burnstein’s location, it’s second, in the Santa Maria Town Center Mall.

However, the mall is paying for the renovations.

Arroyo Grande business and community members rallied outside the shop in December to launch a counter-protest but were asked by the store owner, Greg Steinberger, to stop because he worried about the tone of the protest, which at times escalated to heated arguments.

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