Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

strike over...

So the grocery workers voted to accept the contract. I am happy for the workers, who can now go back to work. But I am still debating whether I will return to those stores myself. I feel such dislike for the corporations. I see this incident as just one more notch.

In Argentina, a few years ago, "reforms" were imposed as a condition of a loan from the IMF. The hardest hit were the workers, who took huge hits in their pay, and then were faced with impossible cost increases because of the "pegging" of the peso to the dollar. When the peg scheme failed, of course, inflation hit the ceiling, yet again. More reforms were imposed, primarily on production - see how much more we can get from these workers while denying them benefits and protection from safety hazards. Argentina has hit a bottom it may never get out from.

While in Venezuela, the popularly-elected president Chavez instituted other kinds of reforms. Increased wages, provided for property ownership by the poor. Venezuela's economy is looking good, especially in comparison to its neighbor Argentina's.

What I see is that we are heading more in the direction of Argentina than Venezuela. It's ugly and it's caused by greed.

Oh yeah, in this country production rates per worker in the past - 20? - years (I forget the exact number of years) has increased 17%. At the same time real wages have gone down.

One of the complaints I heard from people opposed to the grocery strike is that the workers were "a bunch of spoiled lazy college students". I have never seen evidence of that. I also heard, from a fellow city employee, that if benefits were cut from city workers, nobody would be out there supporting us. The logic in these statements is beyond me, as a rationale for crossing the picket line.

A heartening figure is that 59% of shoppers refused to cross the picket line during the strike. 14% of those said they would "never go back". I have been wondering what I will do. I want to do what is best for the workers, and to me that probably means shopping where there are unions. Not at Wal-Mart. Not at Food-4-Less. Yet I want these groceries to know how ugly they are. I don't know yet how I will show them.

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