We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Some of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Step it Up

by John Reimann Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2003 at 2:44 PM

As the grocery strike goes into its second month, it's time to go beyond the conservative strategies of the AFL-CIO

Grocery Strike:

Fight to Win!

For nine weeks now, the grocery workers (members of the UFCW) in southern California have been on strike, showing tremendous determination and sacrifice. Forced out in defense of affordable health care, they are really striking for all workers in the US; if they lose, then all employers who offer health care will go on the offensive on this issue. This is especially so as new union contracts come up for renewal.

On Dec. 16, the UFCW called a national conference to discuss how to win this strike. They brought representatives from all locals across the country. This was a very positive thing. The plan that they came up with was a national boycott. Whether this will be of all the chains or only of Safeway is not clear. What is clear is that this strike can be won, but a boycott is not the most effective tactic.

In the 1980s, there were a series of bitter, prolonged strikes, some of them of UFCW members (Hormel). In the case of the strike against Eastern Airlines, Greyhound and Hormel, the union tried a corporate campaign, including a national boycott. In none of these instances did the boycott succeed. This is because labor is strongest when it fights as workers, not as consumers. It is far, far more difficult to organize people as consumers.

A Winning Strategy

This strike can be won quickly, but a more aggressive approach is needed.

First, many people who cross the picket lines at Safeway comment that they, too, have to pay for health care. Many others say that they don’t have health care at all. In order to win over these many workers, the UFCW leadership should organize a campaign for free health care for all workers and for a nationalized health care plan. They should make it clear that this strike is the start of this campaign.

Second, the UFCW leadership has to develop a strategy to physically shut down all the stores of the struck chains. This can easily be done, if they break with the conservative, timid approach of the AFL-CIO. Based on a demand for free health care for all, the Union leadership could organize millions of workers to occupy the stores (in other words, to go into the stores and take them over). This should lead up to a national one-day walk-out to highlight the demand for a nationalized health care system (something that neither the Democratic nor Republican Parties are discussing.)

Some may be concerned that taking over the stores is illegal. This is true, although paying someone starvation wages or denying them health care is perfectly legal. In the past, simply organizing a union was illegal. If enough people do it, there is not much the authorities can do.

The grocery chains are pointing to Wal-Mart and other non-union stores as an excuse to cut their wages. The labor leaders have to have a serious approach to dealing with this. The entire leadership of the AFL-CIO (including the UFCW) should organize tens and hundreds of thousands of union workers to go to the non-union work places and help the workers there organize. The tactic of mass occupations of the work places should be used in order to win good union contracts.

Union Leadership

Many union members agree with this approach. However, we can not simply wait for our union leaders to organize it. If we do that, we will be waiting a very, very long time. It is necessary for us to organize amongst ourselves to take whatever steps in this direction that we can, while at the same time demanding as one, organized voice that our leadership take these steps on a mass basis. This is the best way to win this strike and to start moving forward.

If you want to help organize along these lines, contact us!


“Good Faith Bargaining”?

On Dec. 19, the UFCW national leadership announced that they would be removing pickets at the distribution warehouses of the supermarket chains in Southern California. This is a major mistake. These pickets have been some of the most effective, as they have kept the stores in the area almost empty of stock. This is announced as being a “good faith” gesture. The corporate tops don’t consider “good faith”; they consider power - power to hurt their profits. Instead of removing those pickets, they should be expanded to all the warehouses of these chains throughout America. If it is a question of the Teamsters feeling the financial pinch, then the UFCW leadership should initiate a major fund raising drive throughout the entire labor movement for strike support for striking UFCW members and the Teamsters.

Another mistake is the strict compliance with a pledge to keep what happens at the bargaining table secret. Most assuredly, the heads of all the chains know what is happening; the only ones kept in the dark are the striking union members. This secrecy gives room for rumors and suspicions. The membership should be kept fully informed and fully involved.

Labor's Militant Voice

(510) 595-4676

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 2 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Yea lets bust some heads Scabbie Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2003 at 9:31 PM
The best approach Adult Supervisor Thursday, Jan. 01, 2004 at 12:58 AM
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy