The Mother of All Union Battles

Oct 30, 2003

By George Anderson

The Socialist Worker believes the outcome of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) strike in Southern California will determine the fate of unions throughout the
grocery industry and is calling on the Teamsters to support the action.

An unidentified striker from the UFCW told the publication that the Teamsters’ rank and file support the grocery strike, “but the leadership is putting the brakes on. We’re going
to meet with some of the Teamsters to try to tell them what’s going on so we can get them fired up and involved.”

In other Southern California strike news, there are reports that pharmacist members of the UFCW are becoming the first group of workers to cross the picket line, citing patient
welfare concerns.

Moderator’s Comment: Do you agree that the fate of the grocery union movement rests with the outcome of the strike in Southern California?

The size of the strike in Southern California does give it a higher profile than other areas around the country dealing with similar issues. It is important
to remember, however, the situation in California is unique.

Other locals would consider the concessions being asked of the UFCW in Southern California to be an upgrade over their existing deals.

The level of unrest also appears higher in California than elsewhere. As we’ve seen, in the case of Meijer for example, negotiations between the UFCW and
management need not be so stridently adversarial.

Reports from St. Louis are saying that the strike there may be over as early as tomorrow. The UFCW and representatives of Schnuck’s, Dierberg’s and Shop
‘n Save renewed discussions last week with the assistance of a federal mediator.
Anderson – Moderator

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