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knight_of_the_star Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-04 10:41 PM
Original message
Report from UFCW strike in Southern California
I don't know any good way to say it, so I'll just be blunt, especially since I haven't really seen anything since the strike started on our progress, so I'll post it here.

Its over.

We're beat.

We have run out of money and the companies, sadly, are still pulling profits, as miniscule as they have become. Strikers are starting to leave the picket lines in search of other work. All three of our offers have been rejected and it is now painfully obvious that those people don't want to negotiate. Strike pay has been forced to be cut to $100 a week in my local. We can't hold out any longer. I wish I had some good news, but it looks like we're going to be going down in flames.

Please don't let our struggle have been in vain.

Let's get that madman out of the White House so that Safeway, Albertsons, and Kroger don't gain anything from this defeat.
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-04 10:43 PM
Response to Original message
1. I've stopped shopping at those three stores.
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knight_of_the_star Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-04 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thanks
That gives me some comfort.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-04 10:55 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I've stopped shopping there, too.
Knight, my heart goes out to you guys. Keep fighting, if you can. What too many people don't get is that this will ultimately affect all of us--specifically, any of us who depend on our employers to pay at least a portion of our healthcare benefits.

Here's what makes me angriest--and I wrote the management at all 3 stores to talk about this--those three stores WASTED an opportunity to join forces and stand up in a very public way to the insurance companies and demand lower rates. A completely lost opportunity.
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knight_of_the_star Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-04 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. If only we could
We just don't have enough money to keep people on the picket lines anymore. Let's just do what we can to shut them down however possible.
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-04 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. Should add that I shopped at Safeway for about 15% of my food
Edited on Sat Jan-03-04 11:24 PM by AP
so this isn't an empty gesture for me. Albertsons is also an option for me, which I've never chosen in the past, and never will in the future because of this.

I used to spend about 95% of food dollar at Kroger, but stopped for other reasons.

(Wholefoods gets the bulk of my food dollar now, by the way).

It's is VITALY important that Americans support in every way possible good wages for people who work for a living. We have got to stop this upward, narrow redistribution of wealth on this increasingly steap pyramid.

Downward an outward for economic, cultural, political power should be our motto.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #9
18. You won't see a strike at Whole Foods
Edited on Sun Jan-04-04 12:29 PM by Bridget Burke
Because their owner has compared unions to herpes.

"Austin, Tex.-based Whole Foods Market Inc. no longer will have union representation in any of its 145 stores if employees at its Madison store have their way.

"After Madison employees presented a petition requesting removal of the union, Whole Foods withdrew recognition of the United Food and Commercial Workers as the exclusive bargaining representative for its Madison employees. Earlier this year, the Madison store became the company's only location to vote for union representation in Whole Foods' 23-year history....The National Labor Relations Board scheduled a Nov. 17 vote on the request. Madison employees then presented a second petition with enough signatures to bypass the vote.

"Following that action, the United Food and Commercial Workers filed charges of unfair labor practices against Whole Foods. The company says the claims are baseless and ultimately will be dismissed....However, Brian Romanowich, a union organizer for UFCW Local 1444 in Madison, says Whole Foods supervisors and employees didn't follow federal labor rules when collecting the signatures for the second petition. Romanowich declines to comment further because the case is being investigated by the NLRB...."

But, hey, they're really groovy stores. They don't NEED unions.

Edited to add a link to the story:
http://milwaukee.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2003...

While I'm at it, this one, too:
http://www.wholeworkersunite.org/
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ldoolin Donating Member (642 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. They're on my boycott list too
I haven't spent anything at Whole Foods for a long time either, because of their anti-union policy. As far as I'm concerned they are in the same category as Safeway and Albertsons. There are plenty of other natural foods stores, especially non-profit food co-ops, for there to be any reason to buy at Whole Foods.

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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. How are their salaries and benefits compared to the rest?
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theoceansnerves Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #9
28. yikes
whole foods is OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive. do they still keep the little bulletin board at the front of the store for customers to pin up notes? every time i've been in a whole foods the entire board was pinned with "why are you so damn expensive?!" you can find the same stuff at local independent health food stores, trader joes, mother's, etc. at much more reasonable prices. whole foods is just way beyond my budget.
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theoceansnerves Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-04 10:59 PM
Response to Original message
4. supported you guys
i haven't set foot in any of the stores on strike since it started. albertson's is maybe one block away from me but i won't be shopping there anymore, will get everything done at stater bros., trader joes and wild oats. i hope everyone that left can find gainful employment.
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knight_of_the_star Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-04 11:08 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Thanks
I know I'm going to be looking for new employment. My work schedule is simply too much to be able to do that and be a full time student. I hope everyone else can land on their feet.
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pasadenaboy Donating Member (877 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-04 11:07 PM
Response to Original message
6. I've supported the strike by going to other stores
and always support labor, but I didn't think this was one we could win.

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WhoCountsTheVotes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-04 11:15 PM
Response to Original message
8. I will NOT shop at Safeway, Albertsons, or Kroger
until the union says okay. You want to know how BAD things are under Bush? Usually these companies wouldn't be so anti-union. This is not a good sign ... good luck, brothers and sisters.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #8
16. Exactly. My beloved uncle worked for Safeway as a truck driver and headed
his union as well. He had nothing but good things to say about his employer. This is a sad, sad, day for me.

This is a harbinger of things to come, as well.

My prayers and dollars are behind the strikers and remain there.
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bobthedrummer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-04 11:29 PM
Response to Original message
10. Best of luck, and yes, these things take time.
BTW, I ran an informational picket-line for 14 months in Green Bay, WI. for the UFCW directed at a grocery chain that sold and became organized several years later.
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maggrwaggr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-03-04 11:47 PM
Response to Original message
11. Well, when the strike ends I STILL won't shop there
screw these guys. Fuck 'em to hell
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cally Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 12:40 AM
Response to Original message
12. This frustrates me and makes me very sad
Thanks for fighting the good fight. I wish you had posted happier news. So, should we all not shop at 'those stores'. I live in N. Cali and I mostly avoid them. I absolutely did not shop there when I visited So. Cal during the holidays.
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dawn Donating Member (876 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 12:47 AM
Response to Original message
13. I will continue to avoid shopping at those stores, too. n/t
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knight_of_the_star Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
14. Thanks everyone
If we can keep this going then it should send a message to those bastards running those three companies NOT to treat their people the way they have.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 09:30 AM
Response to Original message
15. Your struggle has brought attention to the real underlying problem
Edited on Sun Jan-04-04 09:30 AM by slackmaster
Runaway healthcare costs IMO.

Sorry to hear about the situation, and thanks to the brave members of UFCW for putting their livelihoods on the line.

I'm still doing most of my shopping at Trader Joe's and local farmer's markets. Haven't set foot in Von's, Ralphie's, or Albertson's since October.
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ldoolin Donating Member (642 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 11:50 AM
Response to Original message
17. Solidarity - and never forget, never forgive
Just for what it's worth,

I stopped shopping at Safeway, Albertsons, and Frys as soon as the strikes/lockouts started, and I WILL NEVER SPEND ANOTHER DIME THERE AGAIN.

I hope everyone will continue to spread the word and make those three companies pay dearly.

Fortunately locally we have an alternative, Bashas, that is strong on supporting liberal causes and Democratic candidates. And Costco is also a big Democratic donor. Then there are also farmers markets, food co-ops, etc. No reason to ever set foot inside a Safeway, Albertsons, or Frys again.

You have 100% solidarity from me. And hopefully millions of others.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. As long as Eddie runs Basha's, they get my money.
They are still family run, btw.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
22. That's what I hear.
I stopped by to chat with the strikers at my local albertsons last week. They were pretty discouraged.

I haven't crossed a picket line, and won't shop at albertson's again; they formerly got about 90% of my grocery budget.

My boss, a management negotiator, told me they were "watching" this strike to see how it went; it looks like there will be benefit cuts on the table this year for many of us.
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 02:18 PM
Response to Original message
23. Is it of any help to know... that Krogers has, I believe, come to terms
with regional (Indiana) labors over similar issues? It looked like it was going to go into a show down such as your Westcoast and other midwestern areas. I think the impact on the companies elsewhere encouraged a quicker resolution on their contracts.

Hang tough. At least Krogers must be feeling some backlash - or they wouldn't be trying to avert additional actions. Not sure - but I think there is a hopeful sign in this.

Also saw a very long strike in Michigan (also involving Krogers) in the early nineties. Looked like the company was going on 'just fine' for several months. Hired scabs and kept open. But.. things couldn't have been going to well, because they finally went back to the table and gave much more than they had declared they were "able" ..

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proud patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 02:20 PM
Response to Original message
24. I have not stepped into any of these stores
Edited on Sun Jan-04-04 02:21 PM by proud patriot
I have encouraged everyone I know to do the same .
I have even honked when passing picket lines
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 09:51 PM
Response to Original message
25. In need of a
:kick:

Please support our Union brethren.
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loudnclear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 09:56 PM
Response to Original message
26. The money and profits of the Corporcrats is too huge ...
and we keep giving it to them by electing officials who screw us (average middle-low income workers) on every turn. We vote our biases and prejudices and fears rather than our interests.

Consequently, the dittoheads will get the government they deserve and the standarad of living to match.
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FreakinDJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-04-04 10:00 PM
Response to Original message
27. They don't understand
You guys are not just fighting for your health benifits you are fighting for every ones. One big business sees they can get with pulling yours everyone will start losing them.

Why do you think they picked southern california to stage this fight
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