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Scabs Recruited as 40,000 New England Grocery Workers Prepare To Strike

“Instead of spending the money on setting up
 these [replacement worker] hiring centers,
why don’t they spend the money on their
existing employees?” asks Taunette Greene,
 a 39-year New England Stop & Shop
employee on the union’s negotiating team.
A leading supermarket chain in New England began recruiting scabs on a large scale this week as the union representing some 40,000 of its workers girds for a potential strike later this month.Stop & Shop, with more than 250 grocery stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, opened 14 recruitment sites across the region with the goal of hiring “replacement workers,” confirms company spokeswoman Suzi Robinson. The recruits would replace members of five local units of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union in the event of a strike or lockout on February 24, when current collective bargaining agreements expire. The hitch in negotiations has been over the implementation of the federal Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. [...]

Stop & Shop is currently demanding the right to cut off insurance coverage for many part-time workers in early 2014, according to a statement from Rick Charette, chairman of the New England UFCW negotiating committee. The demand is based on the supposition that good health insurance coverage will be available to those workers through state-operated insurance “exchanges” envisioned by Obamacare, Charette indicated.

Please continue reading about wins and losses in the war on workers below the fold.

New Hampshire legislators nix right to work bill: The state's House of Representatives rejected a "right to work" for less bill Wednesday. H.B. 323 would have prohibited employers and labor organizations from including fees for non-union members in collective bargaining agreements. The bill was overwhelmingly knocked down with a vote of 212-141.

Just goes to show how much elections count. Tea party-backed candidates won big in 2010 and took over both legislative houses in New Hampshire. But last year, Democrats regained the House and brought the senate within reach.

Chamber, AFL-CIO seek to quell immigration differences. They are at odds over what a guest-worker program should look like:

[T]he AFL-CIO and other labor unions have supported the creation of a new, independent commission envisioned by former Carter Labor Secretary Ray Marshall that would “measure labor shortages and recommend the numbers and characteristics of employment-based temporary and permanent immigrants to fill those shortages.” AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka has called the approach “a data-driven system that is actually driven by needs and not by aspirations of employers.”
Acting Labor secretary Seth Harris taking prominent role.

CenturyLink workers in 14 states ready to walk out: Negotiations with management on a new contract with the nation's third largest phone company began in August. Workers authorized a strike in October and the Communication Workers of America executive board announced Thursday that it had voted for a strike. All that is left, unless progress is made in negotiations, is for the union's president to set a strike date. At issue, among other things, are a 350 percent increase in worker contributions to health premiums and the union's push for the company to employ fewer contract workers and more staff workers.

Advice not taken: United Steelworkers Union president Leo Gerard wrote in a column that the State of the Union address would be for President Obama "an important moment [...]  to say the word 'union' loudly." There was not one mention in the 6,900 words of the speech.

NYC school bus strike heading for fifth week: The 8,800 New York City bus drivers, matrons and mechanics of Amalgamated Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1181, have been on strike since Jan. 16. They work mostly for the privately owned Atlantic Express Transit Group, the second largest transit company in the country. Workers struck after Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided not to enforce the Employee Protection Provision in bids for new school bus contracts. EPP, place for 33 years, requires that companies must hire workers based on seniority. No EPP means bus companies can slash wages and benefits by replacing experienced workers with green recruits. Bus drivers now max out at $50,000 annually and matrons (who provide assistance to the large numbers of disabled and other special needs children who ride the buses) max out at $26,000. Bids for the contracts are due on Monday. The city now pays $1.1 billion a year for its school bus service.

California unions fighting recent reform of pension calculations: The reform was at the state level, agreed to by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislators. But in various counties and municipalities, unions have filed lawsuits against the specific manner in which the changes are being made. The suits have one thing in common: The unions argue that all types of pay considered for pension purposes can be changed for new hires, but not for existing members.

Under the reform, workers are required to pay for half the cost of their pensions, which means they will have to work longer than was previously the case or take benefit cuts. The reform is slated to save the state $60 billion over 30 years.

OSHA pushes oilfield safety campaign after recent deaths: Region VIII OSHA Administrator Gregory Baxter made a three-hour presentation to oil and gas operators in North Dakota, asking them to "stand down" long enough to run safety inspections:

The event began with a video highlighting some recent oilfield fatalities in North Dakota, from a 22-year-old who fell 75 feet to his death to a 38-year-old who died after an explosion in a boiler to a 52-year-old who died from a fall during a rig move.
NY region reports 2011 workplace injuries and illnesses: Reports of this nature always take a long time to compile, which is why the statistics are from 2011, not 2012. The Bureau of Labor Statistics regional office in New York City announced:
Almost 163,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported among New York private industry employers in 2011, resulting in an incidence rate of 2.9 cases per 100 equivalent full-time workers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported [Thursday].
Two large segments of the workforce—education and health services; and trade, transportation, and utilities—cover some 44 percent of private-sector jobs. But they accounted for 56 percent of the occupational injuries and illnesses in 2011.

Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett's lottery scheme shot down: Attorney General Kathleen Kane rejected the governor's plan to take the public lottery program and turn it over to a private company because, she says, he overstepped his constitutional authority.

His latest attempt is to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery. Currently the lottery is staffed by union workers from AFSCME Local 13; they get paid a decent wage and are accountable to the taxpayers. Lottery revenue is also currently used for programs that help Pennsylvania seniors.

Gov. Corbett isn’t a fan of any of that, and instead wants to hand over management of the lottery to a British corporation called Camelot Global Services PA LLC “for the next 20 to 30 years.”

Camelot has been under fire in the United Kingdom for doubling the price of a lottery ticket and setting aside $8 million for executive bonuses.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Stop & Go vs Stop & Shop? (14+ / 0-)

    the same thing or two different things

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 11:08:08 AM PST

  •  I hate scabs. (10+ / 0-)

    Never crossed a picket line, never will.

    You can't scare me I'm stickin to the union

    •  Good for you. Now F-off. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neglected Duty, dinotrac, hmi

      I never understood the hatred people have for people who take a job offered if it means "crossing" a picket line.

      Not excusing the conditions that caused the union workers to strike, or downplaying the shitty attitude this employer and others like it, but people need to earn money.

      If I'm unemployed and given a chance at a paycheck to replace someone picketing?  I'm glad they're taking a stand. But taking a stand doesn't pay the bills, so "crossing the line I go".

      GOD! Save me from your followers.

      by adversus on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 11:34:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So, you're a frontrunner in the race to the bottom (8+ / 0-)


        F-off, indeed.

        Perpetual crisis means never having to say you're sorry.

        by chuckvw on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 11:54:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Or somebody with kids to take care of who has (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hmi, Whatithink, adversus

          been screwed over in the last 4-5 years as the economy tanked.

          Just as nobody should have told Rosa Parks to sit back down and behave herself, nobody should tell desperate people that they shouldn't take an opportunity to care for their families.

          I know my kids' bellies wouldn't feel any fuller in the knowledge that I kept them hungry for a principle.

          Workers have few enough real friends these days without phony friends shouting at them not to take care of their families.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 01:24:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  and that's exactly why the union is striking... (5+ / 0-)

            ...because S&S is standing in the way of them taking care of their families. Now ask yourself, do you think the union is striking for no apparent reason? Because they have nothing else better to do with their time? That's absurd. And don't be decieved into thinking they care anymore for a scab worker who crosses a picket line than they do for the striking union worker.

            How much power do you think you have on your own or your co-workers have on their own? There's power-and safety in numbers. The unions stand for solidarity, fair wages and workers benefits, which comes full circle back to the families you are threatening by supporting the scabs. Remember S&S's real goal here. If S&S can break the union with these scabs, it's not because they care about these scabs and their families, at all. It's because they know that once they break the backs of the unions, they can bring pressure to bear on the scabs, because an individual worker standing alone is just a hunk of red meat dangling on a hook.

            "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

            by ImpeachKingBushII on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 03:35:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Which relates to the point like an orange relates (0+ / 0-)

              to a fish.

              Both live, both part of the eco-system.

              Calling people scabs for the sin of taking care of their families in a terrible economy does not sound like a friend of any workers.  That requires a certain empathy and compassion.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 04:28:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I am an unemployed worker myself (0+ / 0-)

            Nothing phony about me.

            We didn't get a 40-hour work week, health and vacation benefits, etc. by crossing picket lines. People suffered, some died, but we held firm.

            Scabs are scabs. One of the reasons we are losing this class war so miserably is that people don't get the war part.

            Perpetual crisis means never having to say you're sorry.

            by chuckvw on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 08:45:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are free to make your choices, and free to (0+ / 0-)

              be proud of your actions.

              People making different choices -- especially when the choice is to feed their kids -- are peopel, too.

              Calling them scabs just makes it hard for me to respect your claim to the principles you proclaim.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 01:22:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm sorry you don't get what the labor movement (0+ / 0-)

                is about. Any respect based on that lack of understanding isn't worth much to me.

                Best of luck to you.

                Perpetual crisis means never having to say you're sorry.

                by chuckvw on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 02:27:42 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You understand? Not likely. (0+ / 0-)

                  Having belonged to more than one union, worked for a union, walked picket lines in support of a union, and having studied the labor movement in graduate school, I might understand the labor movement just a little.

                  What you need to understand is that no movement exists in a vacuum.
                  At some point, labor was about advancing the cause of workers.
                  Whether is was the Wobblies or the people inside and outside of the plant in Flint back in 36, there was a sense of something larger than the moment and larger than each individual action.

                  Now, when union workers comprise only about 7% of private sector employment, might be a good time to reflect on that.

                  Frankly, if I were one of these people you call scabs, if I had been out of work for two years and I suddenly had a chance to keep my kids off the street, I might pose you a question for which you have no answer:

                  "What have you been doing for me these last two years while you got good wages and good benefits and my family was falling into an endless pit? Why should I tell my kids that we can't have a home or Christmas because it's more important that you keep your nice job and forget that we exist?"

                  I saw some glimmers of actual labor outreach during the Occupy events, but, mostly, labor seems focused on its members, an ever-declining group.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 08:53:41 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  There is no (8+ / 0-)

        chance to fix the real problem without solidarity.  There is a class war.  And those that cross picket lines are harming everyone, including themselves.

        Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

        by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 12:12:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Absolutely, you'd think that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nespolo, chuckvw

          SnS would want healthy employees!  Less sick days makes for happier more productive workers and just makes everything flow more smoothly for the operation.

          I think they often don't realize the true cost of disruption to their business when workers get sick.  They'd save more by keeping their employees healthy.

          OCare is mostly about preventing disease for the good all!

          •  I'm sorry, but the stated position makes sense, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hmi, Sonofasailor

            especially with the screwy way Obamacare provides subsidies to individuals and assesses penalties on employers. An (not the only) appropriate position for the union would be, "Great. Money not going to pay for health care is now freed up for wages."

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 01:31:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  you are worse than the employer adversus (3+ / 0-)

        You would take power away from those who are trying to bargain for better living wages and benefits? The only real power workers have is in withholding their labor. If you cross the picket line you have empowered the boss and destroyed the workers chances of being paid a living wage and benefits for the work that they do.

        Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

        by BMarshall on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 01:06:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Will you please write him a check then so he can (0+ / 0-)

          feed his kids. After all that is why immigrants come here and we support them, right?

          •  Just because adversus is unable to find a job... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ... on his own doesn't mean that he has a right to steal the job of another man who is also trying to feed his kids. In fact the man going out on strike is risking a lot to try and better his life and create a better life for his own children. Sounds like you and adversus are members of the party of perpetual male adolescence, otherwise known as the libertarian party. I'm surprised to see you here on a progressive blog. The man who understands the necessity of fighting a corrupt and greedy boss, by standing beside his colleagues on a picket line, is a man to be respected. A scab is one of the lowest forms of life found in nature.

            Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

            by BMarshall on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 05:52:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Progressive blog (0+ / 0-)

              "A scab is one of the lowest forms of life found in nature."

              ^ sounds like you are the one who shouldn't be here if that's the case.  You and others seem to have strong negative opinions regarding the poor and needy who are the ones more often than not just HOPING for that single paycheck.

              GOD! Save me from your followers.

              by adversus on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 06:10:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, I just know what it feels (0+ / 0-)

                like to not be able to feed your kids. It is a helpless feeling. And if you think that feeding my kids makes me one of the lowest life forms, so be it. And just because I don't want my kids to starve does not me any less of a progressive than you!

            •  Well, then maybe you can explain it to (0+ / 0-)

              his hungry kids that they shouldn't eat because his boss is greedy.

              •  If your kids are hungry... (0+ / 0-)

                ....what are you doing sitting here passing BS stories on the computer?

                Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

                by BMarshall on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 08:10:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Let's flip it around (0+ / 0-)

          Would you go down and join a civil disobedience movement knowing you'd get thrown in jail for the night?  What about two days?  What about a week?

          People are glad to do it, and I'm glad there's people out there who are willing to take those risks, which have an end result of bettering the world for the rest of us.

          I think that crossing the picket line DOES hurt the cause.  I'm not arguing that.

          But I think it's a pretty fucked up double standard to take a shit on people who just want a paycheck, even if it's for a little bit (i.e. the "I hate Scabs") then turn around and say "We're doing this for you!"

          GOD! Save me from your followers.

          by adversus on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 06:09:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  In my home town (7+ / 0-)

      (a company town for a large corporation) teachers went on strike once back in 1969.  The plant had a strong union at the time and most of the union guys refused to send their kids to school because it meant crossing (an informational) picket line.  The school board caved and the strike was over in less than a week.  

      That's what solidarity can do.

  •  We have a party that hates unions (11+ / 0-)

    and another party that's ambivalent about them.

    We will continue to lose ground until that changes, IMO.

    Perpetual crisis means never having to say you're sorry.

    by chuckvw on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 11:15:14 AM PST

    •  It won't change (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alice kleeman, chuckvw

      until campaigns become cheaper, or we institute public financing. Democrats and Republicans alike depend on wealthy donors, corporations, and Wall Street, none of which are friends of labor, to pay for all those TV ads.  

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 12:05:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow -- horrible (5+ / 0-)

    I guess I will have to shop at Aldis (owned by German family who owns Trader Joes) or Big Y.  Stop & Shop is in walking distance -- but I won't even advance cross a picket line.  This is pretty huge.  There are 2 S&Ss in my small city (town) and another 8 miles away in Litchfield.

    Now to read the rest of the diary.

    Thank you.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 11:28:40 AM PST

    •  I'll be doing... (0+ / 0-)

      The same thing...

      Stop & Shop is on my "Shit List" for the duration of their anti-labor activities...

      "Do you realize the responsibility I carry?
      I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House."
      ~John F. Kennedy~


      by Oldestsonofasailor on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 03:36:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Remember there's no strike yet -- it's not time (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, ladybug53

      to head to an alternative that may well be non-union until there's a picket line you don't want to be crossing. In the mean time, talking to the manager of your local Stop & Shop and offering support for the workers, letting them know you won't be crossing a picket line and shopping there if there are scab workers, is really important.

    •  Big Y is awesome (0+ / 0-)

      Big Y is where I went when I lived in Avon, CT.  That store is so comprehensive.

      Now the past five years I've lived in Quincy and Newton, MA (culture shock), and never was I into Stop & Shop.  I went once to the Lexington Stop & Shop, and felt that other places (Sudbury Farms/Roche Brothers, Shaws/Star Market, and Whole Foods) were cleaner and more helpful.

  •  Unions need to go global to succeed. (7+ / 0-)

    I noticed Stop and Shop is owned by a Dutch company, where about 25 percent of all employees are unionized.

    Heck, the German car companies operating non-union in the South have union members on their corporate boards back home.

    Imagine how much more leverage US workers would have if they partnered with their European brothers and sisters?

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 11:35:16 AM PST

  •  Stop & Stop (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites

    Ah, I took the longer trips to your Trumbull and Shelton locations because you were a union shop (and I love your bread).  

    Looks like the Big Y will be getting my $300 a week - and they're closer!

  •  It's an entitlement (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ImpeachKingBushII, chuckvw

    The private sector corporate overlords and their wholly owned political subsidiaries feel they are entitled to whatever they can grab, whatever they can take away. Whether it's health benefits, a living wage, a public institution - if they can figure any way to profit from it, they believe they are entitled to do so. And they will resist with full vigor anything that works against that dynamic. They believe it is the road to socialist Hell.

    It's a religion, of sorts.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 11:47:27 AM PST

  •  There's only one way to deal with scabs. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, annieli, chuckvw

    Only one.

    And that's all I'm going to say on the subject.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 12:11:07 PM PST

  •  You can walk by the Stop and Shop (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    or you can drive by the Stop and Shop.

    Just don't stop at the Stop and Shop.

    Disclaimer: If the above comment can possibly be construed as snark, it probably is.

    by grubber on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 12:42:48 PM PST

  •  I don't think (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sonofasailor, Whatithink, chuckvw

    unions should fight for insurance coverage.  The sooner we get rid of employer provided insurance, the sooner that useless connection [between employment and insurance] can disappear.  And the sooner we can move on to a single payer system.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 12:45:08 PM PST

  •  Thanks for posting MB (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, ladybug53

    I use S&S frequently both cuz it's so close & convenient and they have the best Rx prices. I'm disappointed to hear this! I'll have to reduce my shopping there. It's ironic too being in MA cuz we already have "romneycare" AKA Commonwealth Care Connector to assist lower income families with ins. premiums. I'm extremely thankful of course since as a nanny it's where I get my ins. but that's a lame excuse to put even more people in the exchanges to put that strain on the local gov't to help them when it should be an employer's obligation.(IMHO)

  •  I will not stop or shop at Stop and Shop (0+ / 0-)

    Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

    by BMarshall on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 01:10:20 PM PST

  •  I haven't shopped at Stop and Shop for years. (0+ / 0-)

    And it looks like I won't be shopping there any time soon.

  •  Stop and Shop position makes sense the way (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hmi, Sonofasailor, ladybug53

    that the ACA is written.

    It radically reduces the value to employees of employer-provided insurance without reducing the cost to employers.

    A sensible response, though not the only sensible response, would be to insist that the cost savings be paid out as wages.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 01:34:58 PM PST

  •  Governor's Cut! (0+ / 0-)

    I wonder what Governor Corbett's cut will be? Remember this is the same man who wanted to put a gas fracking operation just a 1000 feet from an elementary school. The gas fracking industry was a big contributor to his run for governor.

  •  Well where am I going to get groceries now? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Peapod has been a godsend (I mean sure it's no Amazon Fresh) in the last couple of weeks. I moved up from Texas this year, I do NOT drive in snow.

    The only major grocery in East Boston is a Shaw's, which engages in some pretty shocking price gouging. There's a Stop & Shop across the bridge, but if they're off-limits, too... I don't know. There's a Market Basket near the Stop & Shop, are they engaging in any particularly vile anti-union practices these days? Every time I've tried the place it's been obscenely crowded which might be a good sign but also makes me want to curl up in my car and weep instead of picking up some milk.

    Trader Joe's is still OK, right? Too bad I have to drive all the way to friggin' Saugus to find one, or take the T into Allston (where at least there is a wine section, granted, but there's also a half mile uphill walk from my T stop that precludes stocking up on liquids).

    I try to do the right thing and vote with my spending money, I honestly do, but it's getting downright exhausting to try to keep track of who I'm supposed to be boycotting now.

    I was pounding the pavement and spending 20+hrs/wk taking crazy-calls on Elizabeth Warren's behalf this past summer and fall. I'd really rather see regulations that were enforced and took some of the pressure off people like me who are just trying to figure out where they can buy a bunch of bananas (to bake some banana bread to thank the builders who shoveled my sidewalk while I was sick with flu) without destroying the very fabric of civilization.

    FFS corporations, can you just behave yourselves until the roads clear?

    •  Peapod.... (0+ / 0-)

      Peapod is also owned by Ahold USA, owner of Stop & Shop.

      •  I'm aware of that (0+ / 0-)

        which is why I began my post by expressing dismay that a service I have come to rely on is being run by slimy anti-union weenies.

        The problem is that there's no realistic alternative. I'll shop at Costco and Trader Joe's when I can but if those were full replacements for a neighborhood grocery, I wouldn't be giving Stop&Shop my business to begin with.

        I come from an oil family and have OPINIONS about where I fill up my tank, but if the only station in town is a Shell, what am I supposed to do? It's not always realistic to boycot basic needs like groceries which is where the frustration and futility come from.

        •  realistic alternatives.... (0+ / 0-)

          I'm sympathetic. I am a regular customer at Giant Food, the  the Ahold USA grocery store in my area. They are not only unionized here, but the contract is considered to be the best grocery contract in the area.

          On the other hand, Ahold is behaving very badly in a number of different ways. I can withdraw my patronage from Ahold, but what good does it do if I spend my money at a non-union competitor? or on a unionized grocer with a sun-standard contract?

  •  Leo Gerard's call (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, ladybug53

    for Obama to speak the word 'union' (repeated all over the place) helps us understand the problem of labor these days.  Don't get me wrong, I wish Democrats would spend more time talking - day in and day out - about how essential unions are.

    But given the choice, I'd rather they take concrete action to protection union rights, or even refrain from attacks on unions.  It would have been better to call for an end to RTTT, or for fair contracting.  This ask was so small, so insubstantial, that even if we had gotten it, it wouldn't have made any difference.

    The indifference (at best) of the Admin towards unions is a serious problem, but I can't see any way that can end if unions aren't going to make demands that actually matter.

    Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. Notes on a Theory

    by David Kaib on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:04:19 PM PST

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