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Sun Aug 11, 2013, 11:34 AM

Walmart's 'Worst Nightmare' Competition Has Cashiers And Produce Clerks With $1 Million Pensions

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/09/1229983/-Walmart-s-Worst-Nightmare-Competition-Has-Cashiers-And-Produce-Clerks-With-1-Million-Pensions?detail=email

by james321


WinCo -- a low-cost grocery store chain from Idaho -- is being described as Walmart's 'worst nightmare' in a recent Time Article:

<snip>

So about that eye-catching Walmart quote. Those are the words of Burt Flickinger III, a widely respected supermarket retailing industry expert who works for the Strategic Resource Group. Flickinger was quoted in a recent Idaho Statesman story about WinCo, a chain of roughly 100 supermarkets in the western U.S., based in Boise.

“WinCo arguably may be the best retailer in the Western U.S.,” Flickinger says while touring a WinCo store. “WinCo is really unstoppable at this point,” he goes on. “They’re Walmart’s worst nightmare.”

Flickinger isn’t the only industry insider discussing WinCo and Walmart in the same breath. “While many supermarkets strive to keep within a few percentage points of Walmart Stores’ prices, WinCo Foods often undersells the massive discount chain,” the industry publication Supermarket News explained last spring.

<snip>

Prices are kept low through a variety of strategies, the main one being that it often cuts out distributors and other middle men and buys many goods directly from farms and factories. WinCo also trims costs by not accepting credit cards and by asking customers to bag their own groceries. Similarly to warehouse membership stores like Sam’s Club and Costco, and also to successful discount grocers with small stores like Trader Joe’s and Aldi, WinCo stores are organized and minimalist, without many frills, and without the tremendous variety of merchandise that’s become standard at most supermarkets. “Everything is neat and clean, but basic,” Hauptman told Supermarket News. “Though the stores are very large, with a lot of categories, they lack depth or breadth of variety.”

The second part of Walmart's nightmare is that WinCo does all this, and treats its employees really, really well. In addition to decent health care benefits, some employees -- including cashiers and produce clerks -- have pensions worth over $1 Million. (What white collar workers in America today have $1 Million pensions? A declining percentage, but, here, we're talking grocery store employees!)

In sharp contrast to Walmart, which regularly comes under fire for practices like understaffing stores to keep costs down and hiring tons of temporary workers as a means to avoid paying full-time worker benefits, WinCo has a reputation for doing right by employees. It provides health benefits to all staffers who work at least 24 hours per week. The company also has a pension, with employees getting an amount equal to 20% of their annual salary put in a plan that’s paid for by WinCo; a company spokesperson told the Idaho Statesman that more than 400 nonexecutive workers (cashiers, produce clerks, and such) currently have pensions worth over $1 million apiece.

<snip>


Be afraid, Walmart, be afraid. Karma, you know, is, well...

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Reply Walmart's 'Worst Nightmare' Competition Has Cashiers And Produce Clerks With $1 Million Pensions (Original post)
marble falls Aug 2013 OP
PoliticAverse Aug 2013 #1
BlueStreak Aug 2013 #8
jmowreader Aug 2013 #18
rhett o rick Aug 2013 #38
BlueStreak Aug 2013 #40
tridim Aug 2013 #2
niyad Aug 2013 #3
PoliticAverse Aug 2013 #4
niyad Aug 2013 #5
MADem Aug 2013 #6
hollysmom Aug 2013 #27
DJ13 Aug 2013 #7
marble falls Aug 2013 #9
valerief Aug 2013 #10
marble falls Aug 2013 #11
valerief Aug 2013 #12
MADem Aug 2013 #28
Doctor_J Aug 2013 #29
valerief Aug 2013 #37
Ash_F Aug 2013 #43
Spirochete Aug 2013 #13
Faryn Balyncd Aug 2013 #14
safeinOhio Aug 2013 #22
libodem Aug 2013 #15
Flaxbee Aug 2013 #16
adieu Aug 2013 #17
jmowreader Aug 2013 #19
sueh Aug 2013 #21
totodeinhere Aug 2013 #20
juajen Aug 2013 #23
shawn703 Aug 2013 #24
totodeinhere Aug 2013 #25
marble falls Aug 2013 #31
totodeinhere Aug 2013 #35
marble falls Aug 2013 #39
PoliticAverse Aug 2013 #32
totodeinhere Aug 2013 #33
PoliticAverse Aug 2013 #34
totodeinhere Aug 2013 #36
totodeinhere Aug 2013 #26
Sirveri Aug 2013 #41
ForgoTheConsequence Aug 2013 #30
The Stranger Aug 2013 #42

Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 11:36 AM

1. In case people miss it in the story, WinCo is an employee-owned company. n/t

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 12:16 PM

8. Right. No opportunity to invest in their success, unless you are an employee

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #8)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 01:48 PM

18. The flipside is...

...there's also no chance the shareholders or Wall Street Analysts will demand throwing away the pensions or other benefits to increase their dividends.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #8)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 07:48 PM

38. Think about what "invest in success" means. It means that you gamble on their success.

Your money in Costco stock doesnt go to Costco, it is traded between gamblers. If more people think it will go up, then it does go up. It's gambling not investing. And gambling with experts that can manipulate the price.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #38)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 09:25 PM

40. That's not entirely true

If many people think it is a good company with a good business model and a good future, we invest. That makes the stock price go up. That benefits CostCo directly in at least 2 ways

1) Do they have an Employes stock ownership program? Most companies do. And do any key employees receive options? That is an area of massive abuse in Corporate America, but fundamentally the concept is a good one (if it were not abused.) When I invest in CostCo, those stock options are worth more, and that benefits the employees directly.

2) From time to time, many businesses need to raise cash, usually to finance organic expansion or acquisitions. When I invest in their stock, that raises the demand for their shares. If enough people demand their shares, then they can raise cash through a stock issue, rather than having to go the much more expensive routes (bank loans or bonds.)

That is the essence of what I would call "honest" capitalism. Yes, there certainly is an element of risk-taking, but if there is a level playing field of information (i,e, no epidemic of insider trading and other frauds that are so common in the modern version of capitalism) it really is a closed loop. Capitalism -- the honest Adam Smith kind -- is actually a very elegant system that worked well for a long time. But today's capitalism is so fraudulent with so much skimming by people with special privileges, the system is about ready to crumble.

Anybody who thinks capitalism is a great system really should stand up and demand a massive clean-up of the system.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 11:36 AM

2. That sounds awsome! There certainly is a wide-open niche in the market.

What can Walmart do to stop it? Raise salaries? lol.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 11:43 AM

3. between this chain, and costco, the evil empire SHOULD be getting a clue, but I doubt it.

having met one of the walton offspring, can tell you that rational thought is not exactly a priority with them.

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Response to niyad (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 11:45 AM

4. I suspect they won't notice until the profits start disappearing as a result of their decisions. n/t

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 11:46 AM

5. perhaps not even then. they have so much money, would take a long time to filter through.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 12:05 PM

6. They certainly seem to have a sustainable business model, but they are a supermarket.

The "WALMART experience" appeals to people who want to buy underwear and groceries at the same time, and they want to pay for their stuff with a credit card. They also want more variety than a grocer alone can provide--though I will say I saw a WALMART grocery store out on the west coast--just groceries, nothing else--a few months ago; I haven't seen one of those in my neck of the woods though (granted, I don't seek out WALMARTs as a matter of routine).

WALMART keeps their prices low through economies of scale, too. It's easy to cut out the middleman when you are regional concern, but you've got to have a powerhouse shipping system to cut out the middleman in a nationwide chain and still keep the product uniform from one outlet to the next.

That said, I'm glad that there is a reasonably priced alternative to them in Idaho and I hope they continue to do well and expand in a sustainable way.

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Response to MADem (Reply #6)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 02:51 PM

27. heh being retired means I don't have to do that

I buy dog food in Petco, dog treats in stop and shop, meat in Shop rite - veggies in the farmers market, Underwear in the underwear outlet, maintain my tools at a local tool store (where they are great help to helpless me and sell used tools for less). just bought a couch at a family owned made in america store on-line. Now if I can only find a pharmacy that will sell me prescriptions that are not made in China or Vietnam.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 12:05 PM

7. We have a WinCo here locally

Its always the busiest grocery store in town.

Really good prices (as always, not on everything), a full deli, bakery, pizza shop, butcher, pretty much everything you could want.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 12:28 PM

9. They're starting to build here in Texas and I will shop there. I swore off Wal-Mart years ago.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 12:40 PM

10. Pensions -- they're what's promised but are ultimately taken away. nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #10)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 12:42 PM

11. specifically?

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Response to marble falls (Reply #11)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 01:08 PM

12. Pensions. nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #12)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 03:01 PM

28. Are you saying that Winco has a pension plan but they will steal the pensions?

What, precisely, are you saying?

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Response to MADem (Reply #28)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 03:22 PM

29. That's what he's saying. And the recent precedent is undeniable

whether WinCo will do it or not remains to be seen. sounds like they're run by decent people, so maybe not.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #29)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 07:34 PM

37. I'm not saying anything about WinCo. Wal-Mart was once run by a decent man.

Then his kids got it.

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Response to valerief (Reply #37)

Tue Aug 13, 2013, 08:07 AM

43. I guess the point is "time passes, things change"?

I have to agree.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 01:27 PM

13. I do almost all my grocery shopping at Winco

It's employee-owned, has a lot of bulk items, and prices are lower there than other places (for the most part).

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 01:28 PM

14. Sam Walton's useless, disgraceful heirs should take notice.
















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Response to Faryn Balyncd (Reply #14)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 02:15 PM

22. Seems like those that won the sperm lottery,

like the Waltons, Kochs and Mellons, are the worst of the ayn rand ideologues. Born rich and hate the poor and middle.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 01:28 PM

15. Yep

That's my grocery store.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 01:34 PM

16. I posted something similar in GD, from Nation of Change:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023445167

Sorry about the dupe! But at least it's a different forum...

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 01:38 PM

17. I don't understand the no-credit card concept

A retailer usually gets a pretty decent rate for credit card transactions. But the thing is, with cash there is still the need for someone to tabulate the amount and that takes time and effort. Is it equal to 1% of each transaction? It depends, but could be quite a bit. Some claim cash accounting and theft mitigation could amount to 4% or so of the cash revenue. In that case, a secure electronic transaction via credit cards would be cheaper.

Money is become more and more just a number in an account. It's moving away from a physical entity like cash to just a number. Those numbers are more secure and easier to move around.

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Response to adieu (Reply #17)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 01:57 PM

19. They accept debit cards

Credit card interchange fees are about two percent of a transaction...which is close to Winco's profit margin.

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Response to adieu (Reply #17)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 02:09 PM

21. It isn't only the cost of processing credit card transactions. Retailers are also paying for the

devices that swipe the card and process the transaction. These devices are usually expensive to buy ($200.00 or more when I was buying them my small business few years ago). Even if the large retailers negotiate these devices for really cheap, it is still an expense for each cash register. For a chain, that means thousands of these devices with costs adding up very quickly.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 02:01 PM

20. Not so fast. The company is anti-union.

WinCo is an anti-union company. Workers are forbidden to join labor unions. Therefore they do not have the backing of a union to assure fair wages, benefits, job security, or labor conditions. The local United Food and Commercial Workers Union has an ongoing boycott of WinCo. "Our ongoing boycott of WinCo has received support from residents all over the area. Once they understand the negative business practices used by this company, they applaud our efforts to rid them from our communities," said Jacques Loveall, Director of Organizing for UFCW 588.

As indicated in the excerpt, there is an ongoing union sponsored boycott of WinCo due to its ant-labor practices. And don't you realize that without the workers being protected by a union that the company would be free to take away any benefits at any time it chooses? I do not trust non union companies like Winco. Of course my comment is in no way an endorsement of Walamrt which as far as I'm concerned is the spawn of the devil.

http://vacaville.wikispot.org/WinCo_Foods

Union lawsuit blasts WinCo

A union of local food workers has sued WinCo Foods Inc. in Sacramento County Superior Court, alleging that the warehouse food store company is selling outdated foods and drugs.

http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/stories/2001/04/09/story1.html

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Response to totodeinhere (Reply #20)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 02:16 PM

23. Isn't it an employee owned company?

I would be interested in the wages that these people are making. Then, and only then would I make a judgment on whether or not that particular company needs a union. I am pro-union in most cases; but have seen employee owned companies who do very well by their friends and neighbors.

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Response to juajen (Reply #23)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 02:27 PM

24. Not all employees have stakes in employee-owned companies

The employees that own it are more likely the executives and higher level managers that can afford to buy stake in the companies. The people at the bottom of the payscale may opt out because they can't afford the payroll deduction. Not saying that's how Winco does things though - perhaps all employees there are "given" a stake in the company, but I wouldn't bet on it.

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Response to juajen (Reply #23)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 02:31 PM

25. It's employee owned but it's run by a management team. Rank and file employees do not have the same

say in the affairs of the company that they would have if they were members of a union.

And remember that non union businesses like Winco are able to undercut unionized operations. I only shop at unionized supermarkets and I would urge everyone else to do the same. All workers need to stick together and fight for the viability of the labor movement.

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Response to totodeinhere (Reply #25)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 04:05 PM

31. This is what I've found:

I don't see any specific charges from the union except they they can't tell if workers are "treated fairly". As a former member of the Teamsters (against my will) and the AFL of CIO ( a truly great union) I know that usually there's a desire by the workers to recognize a union, something I haven't read about regarding WinCo. This company is 90% owned by current and former workers. Yes I understand that that doesn't mean that 90% of the workers own 90% of the stock. But I also understand all workers are eligible for all benefits offered to employees.

Why aren't the unions focusing on fast food and healthcare professionals? I won't cross picket lines but until WinCo workers strike, I have no problems crossing union "informational" picket lines. I remember the UAW strikes at Lordsburg when masked workers would mount a strike just to get the day off with signs that only said "On Strike" without any union named or issues disputed and the whole plant would shut for just a shift or two with no demands made or met.

Unions are partially responsible for the lack of respect they now suffer, they became the lightening rod that gave us Reagan and Bush.

And though I have my own business and work alone I have tried to rejoin the AFLof CIO in solidarity with the union workers in Wisconsin. They have no system to allow me to join but I do get the AFL newsletter and I believe we need unions more than ever.

http://vacaville.wikispot.org/WinCo_Foods

WinCo Foods


Search:
Location
855 Davis St., Vacaville, CA
Hours
24/7
Phone
(707) 451-3420
Website
http://www.wincofoods.com
Owner(s)
Partly Owned by Past and Present Employees
Payment Method
Cash, Debit. NO credit cards!

Vacaville WinCo.jpg

WinCo is a warehouse grocery store near the Costco in Vacaville (exit at Davis St. and turn right). Before 1999, WinCo used to be called Waremart. Its most notable qualities are well-priced baked goods and a sizeable bulk food section. The latter includes:

Jelly Belly jellybeans, separated by flavor.

Many types of candy, varying from the common to the fairly unique.

Several kinds of flour, yeast, sweeteners, chocolates, powders, and other baking ingredients.

Many varieties of dried fruit.

About a dozen granola mixes.

Spices.

Nuts.

Soup mixes.

Vegetable-based hamburger substitute (just add water).

WinCo is an anti-union company. Workers are forbidden to join labor unions. Therefore they do not have the backing of a union to assure fair wages, benefits, job security, or labor conditions. The local United Food and Commercial Workers Union has an ongoing boycott of WinCo. "Our ongoing boycott of WinCo has received support from residents all over the area. Once they understand the negative business practices used by this company, they applaud our efforts to rid them from our communities," said Jacques Loveall, Director of Organizing for UFCW 588.

WinCo is a warehouse type store and customers have to bag their own groceries. There are no employees to help you with your groceries. They do not employ grocery baggers and the store is run by as few employees as possible. This reduction in labor supposedly is how the company can offer such low prices on food.

WinCo does not accept credit cards, because the company does not want to pay credit card fees. They do accept debit, which does not have a fee to the company.

The company is approximately 90% owned by past and present employees, who are granted or buy shares through the employee stock ownership plan.

WinCo has been criticized by local United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which an ongoing boycott of WinCo. "Our ongoing boycott of WinCo has received support from residents all over the area. Once they understand the negative business practices used by this company, they applaud our efforts to rid them from our communities," said Jacques Loveall, Director of Organizing for UFCW 588.

Others have noted that Winco's wages are industry competitive, and the employee stock ownership program is a benefit that other grocery store employee do not receive.

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Response to marble falls (Reply #31)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 06:30 PM

35. One common tactic employed by anti-union forces is the claim that

they don't need a union because their workers already have sufficient pay and benefits. Don't fall for that. Unions are about much more than comparing the wage scale at one company versus another although of course decent living wages are important. And having one non union shop provides momentum for other companies to also be non union.

And regarding the union pickets at WinCo, of course they are informational because since Winco is not unionized, therefore there is no resident union to call a strike in the first place. But as I already said, I would never cross a union picket line and I'm surprised that I am actually reading otherwise at a site like DU. I had thought that support for unions was almost a holy grail at DU but I guess not.

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Response to totodeinhere (Reply #35)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 08:08 PM

39. My dad was a Teamster organizer and my granfather was a wobbly so I got to see unions from both ....

sides. Getting smacked around by two Teamsters because the contract did nothing for we underpaid non drivers and I wouldn't vote for the union contract. It was a sweet heart deal and I felt that Fitzimmons, Williams, Presser were crooks that didn't give a fig about the working man. All I ever got for my dues was a cheap magazine. Don't get me wrong: if it weren't for Jock Yablonsky my grandfather would got nothing for his black lung. Then Boyle had Jock murdered. I'm from Ohio and I lived through the 50's thru the 80's and I got to live thru a sordid labor union history. Closed shop is almost as bad as 'right to work'.

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Response to totodeinhere (Reply #25)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 05:38 PM

32. So you would support a company with a union over a company that paid its workers more ? n/t

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #32)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 06:19 PM

33. I do my best to only support union shops. And I find it amazing that at a supposedly progressive

website like this one people are actually calling for supporting a non union company that is subjected to a union sponsored boycott. This site has really moved to the right.

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Response to totodeinhere (Reply #33)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 06:25 PM

34. Apparently some here have lost sight of the purpose of a union - it's to help the employees.

Which company pays its employees more and has better benefits, the union one or the WinCo ?

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #34)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 06:36 PM

36. I think that unionized supermarket chains in the Sacramento area such as

Safeway and Raleys do have better wages and benefits than WinCo. Plus employees at those chains have more leverage because they have the threat of a strike. I am not familiar enough with other communities where WinCo operates to draw a comparison about those places.

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Response to juajen (Reply #23)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 02:39 PM

26. Here's another thing. Some WinCo locations have been picketed by

union members from Sacramento's Central Labor Council. In order to shop there you would have to cross a picket line. I don't know about you but I have never crossed a picket line and I never will.

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Response to totodeinhere (Reply #20)

Mon Aug 12, 2013, 01:41 AM

41. Thanks for mentioning this, I wanted to as well.

My mother can't afford to care though. Also at some point, when does it become the workers responsibility? And if they don't WANT union reps, can lead a horse to water but can't make him drink. So how far should we push this, and how much of the fight do they need to own themselves.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Sun Aug 11, 2013, 03:50 PM

30. In the midwest we have Hy-Vee.

It claims to be "employee owned" but they have been known to not be worker friendly and have had many labor violations.

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Response to marble falls (Original post)

Mon Aug 12, 2013, 03:46 PM

42. Why didn't I think of this?!?!

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