I crossed a picket line today, and it felt
great. In case you haven't heard, workers at our
local Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons supermarkets are
on strike because they aren't satisfied with
largely unskilled cashier jobs that pay $18/hour
plus lots of benefits. Can you tell I have little
sympathy toward these thankless workers?
Employees at most retail establishments do the
same kind of work as these grocery workers, but get
paid less than half as much, often with no
benefits. Thanks to union strong-arm tactics,
grocery store employees are some of the highest
paid workers in their industryyet they seem
to have little appreciation for their good fortune.
Certainly, they're not willing to give an inch in a
bad economy, when the company that writes their
paychecks faces skyrocketing health care costs.
I have nothing against grocery store workers
getting paid as much as they possibly can, and
getting as many benefits as possible. I am
currently forced to work two part-time jobs with no
benefits, in addition to making as much extra money
writing as possible, because I haven't been able to
get hired on full-time. But I don't have a big
labor union flexing its muscles behind me, so I
have to accept my lot and do whatever I can to
improve my situation.
So I probably don't support the strikers because
I'm bitter and jealous that they have a union,
right? No. I don't support them because they don't
appreciate what they have, and because I feel that
unions are anachronistic. The days of child labor
and 18-hour workdays without overtime are long gone
here in the U.S. Labor unions served a great
purpose in our nation's history, but now they're
just anti-business. It's noble to go on strike to
protest working under dangerous conditions, but
it's extortion to go on strike because you want
your already-high wage increased even more.
In this still-weak economy, thousands of
unemployed or underemployed workers would leap at
the chance to earn the kind of money and benefits
paid to these strikers, even under the proposed
contract that they turned down. Then again, with
that in mind, maybe this strike is a good thing.
Many of those unemployed workers are indeed making
that kind of money now (at least temporarily) as
replacements, while those spoiled checkers and
clerks stand for hours out in the sun without pay.
Maybe there's some justice there after all. If
nothing else, at least I found great sale prices
and no checkout lines when I crossed that picket
Strickland ALL RIGHTS