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Post 23 Feb 2004, 22:51
Striking Grocery Workers Meet the Free Market Nightmare
California Strike Enters Fourth Month
Revolutionary Worker#1230, February 22, 2004, posted at rwor.org

In early October 2003, picket lines went up all over southern California, at many hundreds of grocery stores and supermarkets. 70,000 workers went on strike against a number of the largest food retail corporations. The strikes hit the Vons and Pavilions stores owned by Safeway. Two other chains, Kroger- owned Ralphs supermarkets and Albertson's, locked out their union workers.

As people turned in to the parking lots to go shopping, they met workers carrying picket signs, who leaned in the car windows and asked everyone to go shop somewhere else. These corporations, the strikers explained, were slashing away the lives of the workers with completely outrageous demands for cutbacks.

These are times when workers' strikes have been rare, and when corporations act like they own the world. And so the hundreds of pickets lines, day after day over four hard months in hundreds of communities and neighborhoods, have provoked a lot of discussion--and attracted a lot of support.... read more @ http://www.rwor.org/a/1230/supermarket.htm
Post 23 Feb 2004, 23:09
Safeway? The same Safeway that operates in the UK?

They have just been taken over by Morrisons. I cannot even imagine supermaket workers going on strike over here. Because they are almost all part-timers I doubt many are union members.
Post 23 Feb 2004, 23:15
I am not sure, but I think anyone can see that what this shows is (as Anti-Flag said) "this system doesn't work for you" :lol"
Post 24 Feb 2004, 10:07
....is it just me or are strikes becomin more common??? The PCS has recently gone on strike because of low pay, some of them are earning less than £13,500 a year!!!, and about 90% of the employees went on strike
Post 04 Mar 2004, 01:26
Hehe I live in southern california and I've been shopping at alternate grocery stores for months in support of the union ^_^
Post 04 Mar 2004, 14:05
Post 14 Mar 2004, 21:06
WALMART is the evil empire , Wal-Mart is not just the world's largest retailer. It's the world's largest company--bigger than ExxonMobil, General Motors, and General Electric. The scale can be hard to absorb. Wal-Mart sold $244.5 billion worth of goods last year. It sells in three months what

number-two retailer Home Depot sells in a year. And in its own category of general merchandise and groceries, Wal-Mart no longer has any real rivals. It does more business than Target, Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney, Safeway, and Kroger combined. "Clearly," says Edward Fox, head of Southern Methodist University's J.C. Penney Center for Retailing Excellence, "Wal-Mart is more powerful than any retailer has ever been." It is, in fact, so big and so furtively powerful as to have become an entirely different order of corporate being.

Wal-Mart wields its power for just one purpose: to bring the lowest possible prices to its customers. At Wal-Mart, that goal is never reached. The retailer has a clear policy for suppliers: On basic products that don't change, the price Wal-Mart will pay, and will charge shoppers, must drop year after year. But what almost no one outside the world of Wal-Mart and its 21,000 suppliers knows is the high cost of those low prices. Wal-Mart has the power to squeeze profit-killing concessions from vendors. To survive in the face of its pricing demands, makers of everything from bras to bicycles to blue jeans have had to lay off employees and close U.S. plants in favor of outsourcing products from overseas.

Of course, U.S. companies have been moving jobs offshore for decades, long before Wal-Mart was a retailing power. But there is no question that the chain is helping accelerate the loss of American jobs to low-wage countries such as China. Wal-Mart, which in the late 1980s and early 1990s trumpeted its claim to "Buy American," has doubled its imports from China in the past five years alone, buying some $12 billion in merchandise in 2002. That's nearly 10% of all Chinese exports to the United States.

One way to think of Wal-Mart is as a vast pipeline that gives non-U.S. companies direct access to the American market. "One of the things that limits or slows the growth of imports is the cost of establishing connections and networks," says Paul Krugman, the Princeton University economist. "Wal-Mart is so big and so centralized that it can all at once hook Chinese and other suppliers into its digital system. So--wham!--you have a large switch to overseas sourcing in a period quicker than under the old rules of retailing."

Steve Dobbins has been bearing the brunt of that switch. He's president and CEO of Carolina Mills, a 75-year-old North Carolina company that supplies thread, yarn, and textile finishing to apparel makers--half of which supply Wal-Mart. Carolina Mills grew steadily until 2000. But in the past three years, as its customers have gone either overseas or out of business, it has shrunk from 17 factories to 7, and from 2,600 employees to 1,200. Dobbins's customers have begun to face imported clothing sold so cheaply to Wal-Mart that they could not compete even if they paid their workers nothing.

"People ask, 'How can it be bad for things to come into the U.S. cheaply? How can it be bad to have a bargain at Wal-Mart?' Sure, it's held inflation down, and it's great to have bargains," says Dobbins. "But you can't buy anything if you're not employed. We are shopping ourselves out of jobs."

Democracy, human rights, and social justice are never cheap, and seldom convenient. If we shop conveniently while Rome burns, we'll have only ourselves to blame when they've reduced our workforce to workfare and our towns to malls, our culture to cookie-cutter sameness.
YES. IT'S CONVENIENT TO HIRE CHEAP LABOR. But there are harmful, hidden costs to convenience.
This company does care about their workers at all, Heathcare is nearly $164.00 a month how in the world can someone afford that by only making $9.00 especially in California the most expensive State in America not to mention the LA/Orange county where apartments go for about $1050 for one bedroomand $1360 for 2 bedrooms impossible to live .

I HATE WALMART oh yea the Walton family are among the
top 10 richest people in the world . I think 4-or 5 of the children of the Walton's make about 20 BILLION each that's totally insane.



I shop only at now Ralaphs double coupons baby....
Post 14 Mar 2004, 21:25
Jobs are extremely scarce in California right now, considering that at one point there was a janitor at a local high school who had a master's degree in Computer Science.

So you can be sure there are people looking for full time jobs, even at Safeway.
Post 27 Mar 2004, 13:19
I am a member of the PCS union. We have more strikes coming up, yet I dont think it will achieve anything. Its Tony Blairs vision we are up against. Yet I will participate and support the union, it is my duty as a socialist and people should make a stand against the corporatisation of the country!
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