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Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:27 PM

My Thanksgiving – A Turkey Sandwich at WalMart

I did not spend Thanksgiving evening with my wife and my five children. I spent it, instead, handing out turkey sandwiches to workers in WalMart. And showing my support for one brave soul who walked off the job in protest against exploitation.

WalMart “associates” make an average of just more than $10 an hour. That means that if they manage to get a full 40 hours a week – and many don’t – they get paid $1,700 a month, before taxes. Somehow, that is supposed to pay for their food, shelter, clothing and medical care, and that of their children. Quite a trick.

In state after state, the largest group of Medicaid recipients is WalMart employees. I’m sure that the same thing is true of food stamp recipients. Each WalMart “associate” costs the taxpayers an average of more than $1,000 in public assistance.

How underpaid are WalMart employees? This underpaid: if every one of them got a 30% raise, WalMart would still be profitable.

WalMart employees in the United States are not unionized. WalMart has used every trick in the book to prevent its employees from organizing. In 2005, in Canada, WalMart closed a store that had voted to go union. Recently, in Orlando, WalMart fired an employee who had just talked about unionizing. When he came back into the store, many days afterward, to say hello to his former colleagues, they handcuffed him.

It’s time to do something about this.

So on Thanksgiving, knowing that WalMart employees were missing dinner with their families, we walked into the local WalMart and handed out dinner to them. We gave them a paper bag that had three things in it: (a) a turkey sandwich, (b) a bag of chips, and (c) a letter explaining their right to organize.

There were two points to this. One was to inform the workers of their rights. And the other was to demonstrate to them, vividly, that they are not alone.

The WalMart manager had the police escort us out of the building. For handing out sandwiches. And for showing WalMart employees that they are not alone.

One brave “associate,” who had had enough of this mistreatment, walked out with us. Which is her right, under the law, to protest WalMart’s unfair labor practices. In fact, a while back, 200 employees walked out of a WalMart store, all at the same time. That really shook up the bosses.

By the way, she made sure that she finished serving her customer before she left. She’s that kind of person. WalMart actually could use a few more like her.

I showed my support. I gave her a hug.

And so it begins. WalMart accounts for more than ten percent of all of the retail sales in the United States. It is the largest private employer in the world, with more than two million employees. And even though those employees comprise barely ten percent of its cost of doing business, WalMart exploits them mercilessly. Now WalMart employees are starting to organize, starting to fight back.

Who will win? I don’t know. But I do know whose side I’m on. And I know that I’m not alone.

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson

57 replies, 9283 views

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Arrow 57 replies Author Time Post
Reply My Thanksgiving – A Turkey Sandwich at WalMart (Original post)
Alan Grayson Nov 2012 OP
Tx4obama Nov 2012 #1
Arctic Dave Nov 2012 #2
jerseyjack Nov 2012 #22
AzDar Nov 2012 #3
NMDemDist2 Nov 2012 #4
LongTomH Nov 2012 #5
calimary Nov 2012 #33
Johnny Noshoes Nov 2012 #43
longship Nov 2012 #6
Wounded Bear Nov 2012 #7
a kennedy Nov 2012 #8
CaliforniaPeggy Nov 2012 #9
ProfessionalLeftist Nov 2012 #10
WillyT Nov 2012 #11
Jughead Nov 2012 #12
Canuckistanian Nov 2012 #13
mrsadm Nov 2012 #14
ProudProgressiveNow Nov 2012 #15
gadjitfreek Nov 2012 #16
Honeycombe8 Nov 2012 #17
Paulie Nov 2012 #21
maddiemom Nov 2012 #37
Honeycombe8 Nov 2012 #50
maddiemom Dec 2012 #54
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #55
kentuck Nov 2012 #18
ReRe Nov 2012 #19
joshcryer Nov 2012 #20
Brigid Nov 2012 #23
Doctor_J Nov 2012 #24
alp227 Nov 2012 #25
Webster Green Nov 2012 #26
DebJ Nov 2012 #27
KT2000 Nov 2012 #28
DainBramaged Nov 2012 #29
Liberal_Dog Nov 2012 #30
Royal Sloan 09 Nov 2012 #31
secondvariety Nov 2012 #32
FirstLight Nov 2012 #34
Javaman Nov 2012 #35
bluesbassman Nov 2012 #36
hrmjustin Nov 2012 #38
Teamster Jeff Nov 2012 #39
calimary Nov 2012 #40
snort Nov 2012 #41
Pool Hall Ace Nov 2012 #42
Chorophyll Nov 2012 #44
GatorOrange Nov 2012 #45
Major Nikon Nov 2012 #46
Old and In the Way Nov 2012 #47
Agony Nov 2012 #48
cpamomfromtexas Nov 2012 #49
demosincebirth Nov 2012 #51
MrMickeysMom Nov 2012 #52
forestpath Nov 2012 #53
randomtagger Dec 2012 #56
Norrin Radd Dec 2012 #57


Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:37 PM

2. I cannot thank you enough for your participation in this fight.

 

Having a Representative that walks the talk is a breath of fresh air.

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Response to Arctic Dave (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:07 PM

22. I remember in '08. Obama was going to put on his walking shoes

 

if labor was abused.

Comes Scott Walker and Wisconsin. Where was Obama? Home, warming his feet before the fire.

GO GRAYSON !!!

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:39 PM

3. K & R

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:40 PM

4. former future rocks it for the people again! n/t

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:42 PM

5. And the guy at your shoulder?

You didn't notice him; but, he was with you. One Rabbi Yeshua ben Nazareth by name....A.K.A. Jesus of Nazareth.

It's the kind of thing he would have done.

And, I'm not very religious in a conventional way; but, I know this sort of kindness is what all of our great religious leaders would have you do. If they didn't, they weren't great.

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Response to LongTomH (Reply #5)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:35 PM

33. Totally.

What a beautiful post - for a beautiful gesture.

Your constituents are most fortunate.

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Response to LongTomH (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 09:37 AM

43. From On The Waterfront

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:47 PM

6. Thank you, Rep-elect Grayson!

I had canned soup and a spam sandwich, the best I could do with a broken fridge. I spent the day reading and the evening watching old movies, alone, since my family is far away and I have no funds for travel let alone fixing or replacing my fridge. But I talked to my twin sister for a while on the phone and we reminisced.

It was altogether a good Thanksgiving. I have friends in the area (Manistee National Forest) and neighbors (a mile or more away) who help out in winter, as I do for them when I can.

I am thankful for what I have. A comfortable roof over my head, heat in winter, clean well water, a 1995 automobile which I purchased two weeks ago from Volunteers of America, an organization which helps poor people. My purchase will help out others who are more hard pressed than I am.

I am blessed. I have a lot to be thankful for. Most of all, there is last election day.

Thank you for your dedication, Alan. Never think that you have not effected somebody as far away as rural west Michigan, where the deer are more numerous than the voters, and people still struggle.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:50 PM

7. Well, Mr Grayson is wasting no time....

stepping right back into the RW crosshairs.

Gotta love the guy!

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:52 PM

8. Isn't this what our congressmen, congresswomen, and senators ARE supposed to be doing??

He's the best.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:55 PM

9. VERY well done, my dear Mr. Grayson!

You have courage. Not many do...

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:57 PM

10. My thanks to you and Bernie Sanders for being the ONLY people in Washington...

...who have stood by the workers!

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:01 PM

11. HUGE K & R !!! - Thank You !!!








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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:21 PM

12. "Notsam"

Someone needs to open a new chain of stores located near every WalMart and call them "Notsam".

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:24 PM

13. K&R

We need more Congressmen like Grayson.

Thank you for your service to your country!

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:26 PM

14. Thankyou Congressman Grayson. !!!!!

Wish I could have been there with you!

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:30 PM

15. K&R nt

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:44 PM

16. Gotta love a leader who walks the walk

Instead of just playing the political game. Rep. Grayson, it's a pleasure to have you back.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:44 PM

17. Question: What did retail clerks & stockers get paid before big box stores?

I was just wondering if things used to be better for retail clerks, cashiers, and stockers before the big box stores came along, WalMart in particular, or if this is something brought about by the big box stores?

I can barely remember when there weren't big box stores.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #17)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:57 PM

21. NPR did a story about the 50 year anniversary of Big Box

given the time in the past it was probably cents and not dollars per hour.

Found it: http://m.npr.org/news/Business/165295840?start=5&textSize=large

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Response to Paulie (Reply #21)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:23 PM

37. Having been a high school student in the early to mid sixties, I seem to

remember that there were some "discount department stores" which sprung up at that time and are now long gone. These were on the order of Hills, K Mart, WoolCo, but were more regional and seemed to be chains of their own. I can remember finding clothing that didn't look cheap when hitting these stores out of town with my high school friends (so as not to be locally embarrassed). Currently Goodwill is popular with college students, but no high school student would be caught dead shopping there.

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Response to Paulie (Reply #21)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:44 PM

50. Big boxes have been around 50 yrs? But not everywhere.

Where I'm from, I don't think there were big box stores until maybe the 1980's? My town wasn't big enough for a big box store, I think.

I worked as a part time retail clerk. The pay was terrible, but it was a teenager part time job, so the pay WOULD be bad. They paid me illegally in cash, which was fine with me.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #50)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:35 PM

54. Forerunners of big box stores started, at least in western PA, in the early sixties.

I think they started as "discount" offshoots of regional department stores. Not many are around as such anymore. K Mart (Kresge) is one I can think of. There were many buyouts and consolidations. I know there were also offshoots of more regional department stores in the South, where I lived in the Seventies. Walmart, of course, was a thing all it's own: starting out with the bargain concept from the ground floor. Nonetheless, I can remember the fun as a teenager, seeking out these stores as they sprung up in neighboring communities. Cheaper prices on brand items!

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Response to maddiemom (Reply #54)

Tue Dec 11, 2012, 11:27 PM

55. Ah, yes. We had Gibson's, a largish (for us) discount store. It had a gun section!

Sort of like Academy. That opened up in the '60s I think.

We'd never heard of Walmart. We had locally owned dept stores...and got a Sears. Maybe we got a KMart, but I'm not sure.

WalMart came in after I left...in the 1980s.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:45 PM

18. Very admirable gesture.

These people are very courageous to do this...

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:48 PM

19. Yes, Dear Allen....

K&R

.... Grayson, you are not alone. And Wal-Mart employees are not alone. We are all in this big giant boat together. The only ones who don't seem to see things that way are the Waltons, i.e., the 1%ers. I believe. I believe that more pressure will be brought from all directions in the coming year(s) bringing the Waltons to their knees on the issue of employee relations. And if our government can't pass universal health care and raise minimum wage to a real living wage, then Unions are the workers only alternative.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:52 PM

20. You are awesome Alan.

Run for President some day.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:09 PM

23. Welcome back to Congress, sir!

You were missed, and this is why.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:20 PM

24. Welcome back, Congressman

I hope the president pays as much attention to your views as he does to the right wingers' this time around.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:24 PM

25. that was a misleading title right there,

i almost thought alan grayson BOUGHT from walmart!

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:24 PM

26. Thank you Congressman!

I'm thrilled that you got your seat back! So awesome!!

Wish there were more like yourself in that freak show.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:25 PM

27. you rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:35 PM

28. Rep. Grayson

I think we can add to the list subsidized low income housing. In my community there is a 2 year waiting list to get an apartment there. Most are low wage working people - NOT welfare recipients. WalMart has taken over our isolated community with two of their super-stores.

Thank you for helping the workers and bringing attention to this travesty.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:52 PM

29. Sir, not only are you my hero for standing with the exploited workers

you are my hero for sharing with us here.


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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:07 PM

30. K & R

I wish that Alan Grayson was my Rep.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:16 PM

31. K-n-R, Such courageous Action taken show the people

so much better than a million words, this is one Honorable man standing up for the people. Thank You for these great efforts on the behalf of the Wal-Mart worker's rights, Sir!

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:30 PM

32. Rep. Grayson-

you make me proud to be from Florida.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:43 PM

34. shared with my fb peeps

thank you Rep. Grayson

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:55 PM

35. You are the real deal Mr. Grayson. Thanks! :)

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:14 PM

36. Well done Sir. My hope is that your passion and commitment spreads through Congress.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:39 PM

38. God bless you sir!

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:51 PM

39. Thank You

Fuck Wal-Mart

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:55 AM

40. Btw, it's a GREAT honor to have you here posting on DU, Congressman-Elect Grayson!

SO cool to be able to post on your threads! I've been a fan for quite some time and I'm so glad you were elected again! We need you back in the House because so many of 'em still have such backwards views!

We also need to KEEP REMINDING THEM that they do NOT have a mandate, they LOST seats in the House, their numbers are DECLINING, while Democrats GAINED. We don't have the House under our belts yet, but that's what they said about our chances of keeping the Senate. We not only kept it, WE ADDED SEATS (and they LOST).

AND they need to be reminded that two of the biggest names in teabaggery, joe walsh and allen west - WERE DEFEATED. How's THAT for a "mandate"?????

They keep trying to avoid or forget these FACTS. We need to keep this REALITY squarely in their faces.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 04:35 AM

41. I am just so totally fucking glad

that you got your old job back. You Sir, are my kind of people.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 09:08 AM

42. Representing the people before you have taken the oath again

My kind of Congressman!

Thank you.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:00 AM

44. A very big K&R.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:11 AM

45. Proud of him as a Central Floridian..

We do get some things right around here as Rep. Grayson proves...

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 12:29 PM

46. We need more members of congress like this

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:45 PM

47. I wish we had a house full of Alan Graysons....

Looking forward to you taking the fight to these private service politicians that form the core of today's Republican Party.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:31 PM

48. very Representative of you! Thanks and Cheers!

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 03:32 PM

49. Thank you, Rep Grayson, for entering the fight, another fight you may want to weigh in on

Bravo, I applaud what you are doing. I can identify with your sandwich on Thanksgiving, my husband spends every major holiday eating out of vending machines---he's a pilot for American Airlines.

Here's a fight I'd love to see you take on...that is companies filing "BANKRUPTCIES OF CONVENIENCE". THAT IS JUST WHAT THE CEO OF AMERICAN AIRLINES DID, HE FILED FOR A "BANKRUPTCY OF CONVENIENCE"--and they have Bain Capital helping them do it.

All companies are watching what AMR is doing because they are coming for everyone else next. That is why I encourage all my pilot friends to keep voting no.

I will apologize in advance for the run on ideas, but want to give you the full flavor of what is going on.

The Book "Retirement Heist" was right. Many companies do it, specifically....American Airlines Bankruptcy was clearly OPTIONAL and is currently playing out (I see many similarities between American's incompetent but greedy management and that of Hostess Foods--they are quick to reward themselves and also quick to cut pay and benefits for employees- my husband and brother took approximately 40% cuts and are working for 1992 salaries (I checked the pay scales to be sure, not to mention if you see a pilot, they are not getting paid. For example: They do not get paid at sign in, or aircraft inspection, while waiting for maintenance to fix something, they are also not pay protected when a maintenance issue or weather issue mean the flights don't go at all).

Combined with the way they treat their employees, the main driver for AMR's bankruptcy was to keep profits earned on the almost fully funded pilot retirement fund AND to keep pilots from retiring since they are still working for 1992 wages AND THERE IS A SHORTAGE OF PILOTS ALREADY OCCURRING. But because of the bankruptcy process, they have no way to increase their earnings other than fly more up to the FAA mandated limit. Chinese Airlines are paying TWICE what American Airlines is paying. Call me crazy but isn't that a security risk, most of these guys are ex-military-do we really love cheap labor so much that this is preferable than paying fair wages, protection from disability (they can't fly if they get so much as a small cancerous mole, and if they ever do, they have to hire lawyers to help them get their licenses cleared to return to fly--and by the way, several pilots at American have recently been cleared, but as American is prone to do, has blocked them from returning to work as part of the hostage taking process during contract negotiations). In addition, the Railway Labor Act means they cannot strike unless released by the National Mediation Board because their contracts do not "expire" they just become amendable (Mr Hoglander of the NMB told the Allied Pilots that no major airline group would EVER be released to self help period-so you have the NMB rewarding management for dragging their feet in negotiations for over 6 years!) (I'd love to see the President can this guy and put someone in that will release them). There is also no true "Whistleblower Protection" in aviation, AMR's response if there is a problem is "grieve it" which takes years and is hidden from the public due to the cover of arbitration required under the RLA.

At any rate, I think I've given you some idea of the goings on.

So glad you're back!


http://aviationblog.dallasnews.com/2012/11/american-airlines-too-many-pilots-will-retire-if-they-can-take-their-pensions-as-a-lump-sum.html/

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:07 PM

51. Thank you Mr. Grayson, from a retired Teamster. God bless you.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:21 PM

52. I remember working in FL for 30 years, Healthcare gave me no pension, and it matters...

Since leaving FL, I realize the number of years I could have contributed as a Union member into a pension system. Many, many things, I've given to the health care industry, which has narrowed my range of choices in each passing year. It's up to me to manage money I've put aside. Meanwhile, what has my labor meant to them? Nothing...

The WallMart example is so extreme to that end. It's a damned crime.

Meanwhile, every single profit or non profit has gotten far more than the system that made people like Rick Scott rich while taking advantage of those third party reimbursements that made him all that money. The family who started Wall Mart certainly aren't suffering, are they? They take people, chew them up, and then spit them out, just like yesterday's newspaper.

Every profession that cannot or will not afford their workers "living wages" are to blame.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 11:02 AM

53. You are a national treasure. We need a whole lot more like you!!!!!

 

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:01 AM

56. Thank you!

 

I appreciate your service and your kindness towards Wal-Mart employees.

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Response to Alan Grayson (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 04:53 AM

57. kr

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