Tuesday, February 3, 2004

The Rest of the Story

Actually, there's more to the story (the one just below).

See, at first the workers had picket lines at all three markets involved in the labor dispute.

Then the union announced it was removing the picket lines from one store, Ralphs. The union even had a press release about how they appreciated that people were respecting the lines, but they realized how we all needed a place to shop. So they removed the lines from Ralphs as a gesture of good faith to the CONSUMERS. (The idea was also that they could extend the geographic coverage of the strike against the other markets -- by moving the Ralphs' picketers to Vons stores in other areas. I don't know whether they managed to do this.)

The move backfired. The grocery stores had some sort of "share the pain" agreement by which Ralphs shared the money it was now making with Vons and Albertsons. Net result: everyone who respected the lines at Vons and Albertsons was shopping at Ralphs, and Ralphs was giving that money back to Vons and Albertsons -- so Vons and Albertsons didn't really, y'know, hurt.

The union made a statement about how removing the pickets from Ralphs was probably a mistake. However, they didn't put them back. This seemed to be a decision left to each local branch of the union, and most locals decided NOT to put the pickets back at Ralphs. One local put it simply: we said we'd remove the pickets and we keep our word.

Enter the teachers union. The teachers union radio ad politely asks us not to shop at Vons, Albertsons or RALPHS, since the strike (although not the pickets) involves all three.

So, the way I read it, the teachers union comes in and asks us not to shop at Ralphs BECAUSE THE GROCERY STORE UNION CAN'T DO THAT WITHOUT GOING BACK ON ITS WORD. And if that's what's really going on here, I think it's underhanded as hell. If the grocery store union wants us to stop shopping at Ralphs again, they should come right out and picket them again -- not have the teachers union try to do it for them so they can still make like they're not going back on their good-faith gesture.

UPDATE: Am told that the supermarket employee union will make an "announcement" today that will/might bring an end to the strike. I'm sure it was my journal entries that did it. You're welcome.

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