Archive for September, 2013

UFCW Negotiation Update; or why I find PSARA so intriguing, part II

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

By Bob Shimubukuro 

UFCW 21 reports that the Companies (Safeway, Fred Meyer, QFC, Albertsons) are not willing to negotiate seriously, sticking by their previous offers: drop family health coverage for those working less than 30 hours/week, and personal health coverage for those working less than 20 hours/week.

Bob’s translation of Company offer: “Despite the fact that we’re making a lot of money, we need to cut back on what we give to the workers.”

The union is having more informational picketing at many local stores August 28, and they are also gearing up for more pressure, contacting supporting community organizations and individuals about the possibility of sponsorship for union action that might bring the Companies into a little more serious bargaining sessions.

As we mentioned in earlier issues of the Advocate, health care and insurance are very big issues for UFCW rank and file, and they don’t want to see any backsliding on that. This is a huge issue for labor right now, not only in the grocery, retail business, but in the hospital/medical service industry, too. In fact, all employers are looking for ways to get hard earned employee benefits off the table. Some employers don’t even want a living wage, let alone a benefits package, on the table, so we know it’s not just a union issue. All workers should be alarmed.

When we hear that companies like UPS, and institutions like our State of Washington are weighing consequences of dumping family health coverage as part of the compensation package we have to realize that UFCW and SEIU (fighting for a living wage for airport workers) are not going to be isolated incidents. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a real dogfight that affects all of us 99 per centers.

We need to have a strong response to this assault. We need to support labor, we need to support communities, we need to protect our air, water and land. And we need to share responsibility.

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that there is too much inequity. PSARA is one organization that is battling on all fronts to bring a more level playing field for all. We need to have a decent place to live, learn, eat, sleep, work, play, and die.

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Bob Shimubukuro is a member of PSARA’s Executive Board and Associate Editor of the Retiree Advocate. 

Remembering the March on Washington

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

For the first time in one hundred years this nation is being awakened to the fact that segregation is evil and that it must be destroyed in all forms. Your presence today proves that you have been aroused to the point of action.

“We are now involved in a serious revolution. This nation is still a place of cheap political leaders who build their careers on immoral compromises and ally themselves with open forms of political, economic and social exploitation. What political leader here can stand up and say, “My party is the party of principles?” The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? ”

“The revolution is at hand, and we must free ourselves of the chains of political and economic slavery. The nonviolent revolution is saying, ‘We will not wait for the courts to act, for we have been waiting for hundreds of years. We will not wait for the President, the Justice Department, nor Congress, but we will take matters into our own hands and create a source of power, outside of any national structure, that could and would assure us a victory.'”

“We all recognize the fact that if any radical social, political and economic changes are to take place in our society, the people, the masses, must bring them about. In the struggle, we must seek more than civil rights; we must work for the community of love, peace and true brotherhood. Our minds, souls and hearts cannot rest until freedom and justice exist for all people.”

— John Lewis, August 28, 1963.