Local 655, the Grocery Workers’ Union, voted to strike this morning in St. Louis. The strike affects the three biggest chain grocers in the St. Louis area: Schnucks, Dierbergs and Shop ‘n’ Save. Here’s the roundup from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Here’s the dispute:
My question to you: Would you cross this picket line? I wouldn’t and didn’t. I stopped by the local Dierbergs this morning, but when I saw the workers were on strike, I told the striking workers I wouldn’t go in. The raises they were offering were too small, and health costs are bad enough as it is. If it were me working there and my spouse was no longer covered, I’d be mad as hell. Besides, it’s not as though these three chains are the only supermarkets in town: Straub’s is a high-end grocer with a good selection, Whole Foods offers organic products, and Aldi offers plenty of discount groceries. No one need starve because of this strike.
I wouldn’t cross this or any other line of striking workers.
I’m somewhat amused that you offer up Whole Foods as an alternative site. Whole Foods is a notorious union-buster. It has fought tooth and nail against the organization of its Madison store, as I understand it the only of its stores to organize successfully. Immediately after the election, Whole Foods challenged the results and the battle continues.
It seems to me that there are enough alternatives to make it a nonissue for most people. That is, avoiding these stores won’t inconvenience most people. So if it were me and I had decent alternatives, I wouldn’t cross the line.
There’s also the issue of replacement employees. Are they going to be as competent as the regular employees? Will they know how to cut my lunch meat? Will they be able to use the register and to bag properly? Some of that comes with experience, and perhaps they won’t have as much experience.
Also, to me this is the ultimate reason to have unions. These guys are never well paid, and an attempt to squeeze them in raises and benefits strikes me as unfair in general. Good luck to the workers.
I had no idea about Whole Foods! Guess I won’t be shopping there anymore… Not that I did much shopping there anyway.
The other thing I forgot to mention in the OP: Schnucks and Dierbergs hired replacement workers three days before the vote of the strike and locked out the union workers this morning after the vote, even though the union only voted to strike and picket at Shop ‘n’ Save. I really have no respect for them when they’re trying to break the strike like that.
I wouldn’t cross. We had a similar situation here in California a couple years back. The issue was Safeway was going to make the delivery truck drivers drive longer without breaks, or have to drive further in the same shifts, etc. (There might’ve been healthcare issues as well, but it’s been a while and I don’t recall.) Apparently these drivers were already having to drive like 10 hours at a time and already being pressured to lie in their log books to get around government regulations and I found that to be a repellent situation to be forced to work under. The baggers/cashiers were striking in sympathy with them and I felt strongly enough about it I went to other stores even though it was somewhat inconvenient. (We also had extra incentive because some store managers were caught trying to get their stocks from warehouses and take it to the stores in their cars. A lot of the stuff was meat and dairy, which HAS to be transported (by law) in a refrigerated truck. Yay…let’s cross a picket line AND risk getting food poisoning!)
I live in STL and I’m making a point to go to Shop & Save today just to shop there even though I need nothing from the grocery store.
If I didn’t have a job or had some spare time, I would probably apply for a temp position as well.
You have to be competitive or the company will go out of business. I don’t know why people in this union don’t understand this. The grocery business has some of the smallest profit margins of any industy, and to stay competitive, they have to do something.
I just think the people in these unions are whiney bastards, but that’s just my opinion.
Looks like we’re going to be facing this next week here in So. Cal… several of the major chains are probably going on strike starting around next Saturday. And of course, all the supermarkets anywhere near me are these chains that are striking. Being a union member myself (albeit a different union, but still), no, I won’t be crossing the line. Not to mention, I’ve heard their demands, and they’re very reasonable. I’ll stock up as much groceries as I can this week, and wait it out.
I’d cross. The Healthcare issue is only for those spouses who have insurance avaible at their employment, not all spouses. And they apparently don’t have to pay any part of their insurance at present. For most people that’s like a 50 cent/hr raise right there. And co-pays aren’t presently required but will be soon? So what - most of America pays co-pays. It’s not a huge issue, and I think it weeds out all those people who run to the doctor because they have a hangnail or something equally as trivial, just because their insurance will pick it all up.
So yeah, I’d cross. If they don’t like the conditions at their workplace, they can find another job.
I’d cross. I probably wouldn’t do any major shopping but only because staff would be limited and I don’t have time to waste. If I were going in a for a couple of essentials, I wouldn’t even think twice about it.
I’m no union supporter anyway, so I would cross. Unions, IMHO, served a purpose at one time but have mostly outlived their usefulness and now serve only to artificially inflate wages and, therby, raise prices. I say let the free market reign. If the pay is crappy then don’t work there. Don’t like the benefits, work somewhere else. The company will either A) find willing workers at those rates; B) increase pay/benefits; or C) go out of business.
I know workers have been (and some places still are) abused but people underestimate the power of a free market to regulate itself. I’ve gotten too close to debating here and this ain’t the forum for that, so I’ll just say count me as a “yes” vote.