Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Grocery Strike looms on

Grocery Strike looms on

The strikes continue, and with negotiations seemingly going nowhere, there is no end in sight.

Many frustrated shoppers have taken aim at the strikers themselves as the source of the grief. As the days go on, supportive horn-honks are gradually being replaced by rude hand gestures as drivers pass by the strikers. The fact that many of these “strikers” are using their picket signs to cheer on the Yankees, and the parking lots they’re striking in for touch football games doesn’t help their cause either.

We must keep in mind, however, that these people are just doing what they’ve been ordered to do by their union leadership. The one’s who are out there actively harassing shoppers and spouting union propaganda are not bad, just misinformed.

Healthcare has been touted as the crux of the issue. However, when people who have highly skilled employment and pay 600 dollars a month, plus co-pays and deductibles, for their health insurance drive by the picket lines, many find it difficult to sympathize with grocery baggers striking because they’re being asked to pay 8 to 15 dollars a week.

Don’t get us wrong, the major grocery companies aren’t smelling like a rose in this either. In the proposed contract, the grocers agree to pay up to an eight percent increase in health coverage each year. If costs rise more than that, and they likely will, the burden is on the shoulders of the employees. Therefore, the companies are demanding that the workers assume 100 percent of the risk when it comes to health care, as opposed to splitting the increase, one third on the employee, two thirds on the employer, for example, which would be viewed as more acceptable by many strikers.

But the real scum here is the union leadership. The strikers are misinformed at best, and arguably straight out lied to. The grocers are looking out for the bottom line, which is what major corporations do, no surprise, but the union leaders are abusing their positions and manipulating the members they are sworn to protect for their own personal gain.

Most strikers have never seen the actual proposed contract, and the local unions sure aren’t making it any easier for them to find. Instead, they shout incendiary slogans such as, “You’ll pay 50 percent for your heart attack,” without informing members that under the proposal, this would only happen if they were retired, and chose to see a doctor outside their health plan. Also, the deductible is never to exceed $5,000 dollars.

All of sudden, it doesn’t quite sound like enough to bring society to a screeching halt, does it? Especially when one looks at the bigger picture and realizes that these were some of the last people on earth to have free healthcare. Everyone else’s health costs are skyrocketing, and yet the grocery workers are on strike because theirs will no longer be free. Aren’t they just being asked to pay their fair share?

Well, yes and no. While they’re not being asked to pay an exorbitant amount this year, the contract provides no limit to how high their payment could potentially rise, and therefore does in fact favor the grocery companies. Nonetheless, the health plan they’re being offered is not perfect, or perfectly fair, but it’s still a hell of a lot better that anything most of us have, in addition to an average hourly wage of $14 dollars an hour for their expertise in cash register operation.

Reason to strike, we don’t think so. Especially when to strike is to hurt society as a whole, not just a faceless corporation.

Unions exist to keep laborers as a whole from being exploited, but the system can be exploited itself, especially when union leadership is not forthcoming with it’s members.

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Grocery Strike looms on