One of our local supermarkets is now crippled: “New England Stop & Shop strike enters ninth day, as stores sit empty and unstocked; With support from Warren, Biden and Buttigieg, 31,000 striking workers say the grocery giant’s proposals would mean more expensive health care and worse retirement benefits.” (NBC):
Stop & Shop’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize, reported profits in the billions but is asking workers to pay more for their insurance and cutting their retirement benefits, according to Erikka Knuti, spokesperson for United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents the striking workers.
Knuti said 75 percent of workers at Stop & Shop are part time, working multiple jobs and barely “cobbling together” a living wage.
On April 12, Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential contender Elizabeth Warren visited her striking constituents.
“Do not cross the picket line,” Warren said, addressing potential shoppers. “Understand people on the picket line are not just fighting for their families. They’re fighting for all our families. They’re fighting for basic fairness and equality in this country.”
Since Warren’s remarks, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and former Vice President Joe Biden have also joined workers on the picket line.
As a proud former union worker myself, I can sympathize with these folks who work all day on their feet for low wages. (With proper planning, there are a lot of easier ways to make money in Massachusetts!)
But I’m wondering if the workers’ primary enemies aren’t the very politicians who are showing up to “support” them. What better way to lower the market-clearing wage for a low-skill supermarket worker than to open the floodgates of low-skill immigration? Forming a union and striking might bump the paycheck slightly, but it can’t undo the reduction caused by tens of millions of immigrants and their children competing for the same jobs.
My neighbors’ Facebook feeds are lit up with the virtuous recounting their heroic tales of driving to Whole Foods, for example, instead. Yet Whole Foods has fought unionization for decades and the founder compared unionization to herpes.
Given that Stop & Shop regularly hires and trains new workers, I don’t know why the stores are running on such a barebones level. What stops the company from hiring and training replacement workers? (this Obama Administration ruling?) How much training does a person who stocks shelves get?
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- “Labor Board Tells Boeing New Factory Breaks Law” (nytimes, 2011), in which central planners in Washington, D.C. determined whether or not a company could build a new factory in order to escape a union: “In what may be the strongest signal yet of the new pro-labor orientation of the National Labor Relations Board under President Obama, the agency filed a complaint Wednesday seeking to force Boeing to bring an airplane production line back to its unionized facilities in Washington State instead of moving the work to a nonunion plant in South Carolina. In its complaint, the labor board said that Boeing’s decision to transfer a second production line for its new 787 Dreamliner passenger plane to South Carolina was motivated by an unlawful desire to retaliate against union workers for their past strikes in Washington and to discourage future strikes.” (see also Licence Raj)
- “20 women slept with me to get promotion” (life in an English supermarket)