Thursday, June 9, 2011

Some people never learn

When last we saw employees of Southern California's major grocery chains returning to work after being on strike for five months, the results were less than impressive.  Almost half a year's wages lost and the issues they had struck for largely waived in order to reach a settlement so they could get back to work.  But apparently those lessons (assuming any were learned) have been forgotten: Grocery worker strike looms.

Since the last strike, a lot of changes have occurred.  This strike now would be a boon to Fresh & Easy, which wasn't even a glint in the Southland's eye during the last strike.  Self-checking lanes have come into existence and become a normal and acceptable option for shoppers.  This has to have reduced the number of union jobs available and with that in mind it seems logical that if there are fewer jobs available, it's an employer's market and maybe you should just be glad you have a decent job with decent benefits at a time when too many people don't have either.

Speaking of those benefits, that's apparently the issue that has the union threatening a strike.  Let's take a look at those, shall we?
Employees are now having to "pay deductibles, premiums, and all the things that have caused the fact the employers are not paying their fair share in the health and welfare benefits," he said...

A proposal sent to the union calls for employees to pay health care costs of either a $9 a week for individual coverage or $23 a week for full family coverage, according to the flyer. Employees would qualify for a health care plan by working between 16 to 24 hours per week depending on their position...
Ralph's said it would increase its contribution to the health care fund from $234 million from the last three years to $365 million over the next three years, the flyer said.
Based on what I know about benefits (having worked in the medical insurance industry and human resources) these people have got it good.  Most employers have historically paid premiums only for the employees themselves and contributed little or nothing toward dependent benefits.  $23 a week for full family coverage is a steal.  If everyone could get medical insurance for $9 - $23 per week, there would be no healthcare crisis.  Also, 16-24 hours per week is only part-time employment and most employers do not offer benefits at all to employees who work so few hours.  I don't know what the hell they're complaining about.

Oh, and making a statement about "heartless shopping" in an economy where a significant amount of the population are barely able to purchase the minimum they need to survive?  Just a plain stupid comment.  Whoever came up with that needs to be permanently barred from any occupation that involves any type of public speaking.  This whole situation is a perfect example of how out-of-touch the unions and their members are with life in the real world, and why many people feel that unions have outlived their purposes and usefulness.


Michele said...


I agree with you. The last grocery strike woke me up to how unions don't benefit the employees, but the unions.

Remember, it was right before - and I think - during the Christmas Holiday.

I just began shopping more at other stores, and began realizing unions are thugs.

Anonymous said...

What a ridiculously ignorant and misinformed article. You really must be a resident of LA because u are truly caught up in all the Hollywood fantasies! $9 a week out of ur check, when u only work 20 hrs a week, at roughly $8.50 an hour, plus all the normal living expenses that people down here in the REAL world the math honey! After taxes and fees, gas money, eating expenses,living expenses, bills, and rent....some of these employees would be lucky to have any money left over for a cup of coffee. Do ur research! $4600 a year out of ur $10,000 yearly income, yeah, they got it real good!