Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Supermarket Swindle: Grocery Workers' Labor Fight Is the Subject of New Documentary

This is a very-well written article by Joshua Holland on the upcoming documentary being put together by my fellow employees of Brave New Films.

You should go eat the whole pie, but here is a slice:

At the end of June, more than 95 percent of the United Food and Commercial Workers' (UFCW) members in Southern California voted to authorize a strike if it becomes necessary. Negotiations continue, and both sides say they hope to avert a walkout if possible.

But the Golden State's grocery workers have little reason to believe management is bargaining in good faith. During the lock-out four years ago, the supermarkets' ownership group mounted a concerted attempt to break the union. Before the old contract even expired, they had hired thousands of replacement workers -- "scabs" -- flying some in from neighboring states. The owners locked out the grocery workers for 142 days in an attempt to make the union suffer for refusing a contract that called for dramatic reductions in employer contributions to workers' healthcare funds. The owners also tried to drive a wedge between older union workers and new hires by instituting a two-tiered pay scale that slashed earnings for less experienced workers and provided a powerful incentive for management to get rid of more experienced workers earning higher pay rates.

Even more dangerous in terms of the precedent it might have set was the grocery giants' push to deny affordable healthcare to California's grocery workers. The supermarkets argued that the healthcare concessions they sought were small, but an independent analysis by Richard Brown and Richard Kronick, two scholars at the University of California, concluded that the plan would have effectively spelled an end to affordable health coverage for California's grocers. "There is more to the employers' proposal than they have publicly acknowledged," they wrote, "and the proposal bodes ill for supermarket workers and, if adopted more widely, workers in other sectors."
This story, and the upcoming film, are important for many reasons. Among them is what's happened to the lives of supermarket workers in Southern California, which is unconscionable.

But it is also about this country, and the criminals who currently reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, who have tried to turn this country back 100 years into a low-wage, no-benefit developing country where crony-capitalists make off like bandits.

It is time to just say no to the kind of venal people who would deny a supermarket worker healthcare and a living wage.


At 9:01 PM, Blogger GottaLaff said...

I have a good friend who's worked at Vons for years. She's livid, with good reason.

In the L.A. Times yesterday, they had a nice blurb on Greenwald's efforts.


Post a Comment

<< Home