Although the UFCW averted calling its 43,000 Stop & Shop members out on the picket lines, new reports have it that the Stop & Shop chain will be closing 55 floral and 155 seafood departments. This means that as many as 1,000 UFCW members will be laid off.
Union boss James Riley, secretary-treasurer of UFCW local 328, acknowledges that "...we can't keep them from firing people and closing stores."
[So much for the myth (or, more adroitly, 'delusion') of union job security.]
Of course, Riley shouldn't be too worried because, as those folks at Unionfacts.com point out, he's gotten a 45% salary increase (34% in 2002 alone) since 2000. Far more than the average UFCW rank and file member has gotten.
For Celeste Cook, the Southern California grocery strike of three years ago was so traumatic that she and her husband eventually left the industry and the state, moving to Arizona. Cook's voice quivers as she remembers the stress the 4½-month strike and lockout had on her marriage, her friendships and her children. The former wall deli manager blames it for the divorce of her brother, also a grocery worker.
According to those folks at UnionFacts.com:
UFCW members collectively lost 4.58 million days of work, with terrible consequences for workers. The environmental publication High Country News described it as "a brutal strike that cost millions in lost wages, and resulted in broken marriages, lost homes and cars, and even suicides." Even then, the publication noted, when the strike was settled, "some workers have had their wages and benefits slashed."
So it would seem.
We're surprised the Actors' Equity Association isn't throwing a hissy fit with the UFCW for raiding their craft.