October 26, 2003

grocery strike

In case you don't know -- and you may not if you're not a Californian -- the union workers are striking the state's three largest grocery chains: Ralph's, Vons, and Albertson's. They decided to picket just Vons to reduce shopper stress, but, in a display of pure ugliness, the other two chains shut them out.

Every time I drive past a market, Damian comments on the picketers with their signs. He knows what's going on. He knows, too, why I honk in solidarity. It's such a tiny thing to do and I know from my time on picket lines that it means a lot to know that random strangers are in agreement.

You know what gets me, though? When the strike started, I was impressed by how empty the parking lots were, how few people were actually crossing the strike lines. But now, more than a week into it, the parking lots are practically full -- at least, on the wealthy Westside.

It's not like there's nowhere else to shop: true, Gelson's and Bristol Farm are more expensive and Whole Foods (my market of choice) is both more expensive and more granolahead, but there's Trader Joe's and farmer's markets and and minimall markets and Costco and Smart & Final and pharmacies for paper products. You just have to go out of your way, you have to think about it a minute, you have to actually care. I don't get it. How can you be against workers getting decent health insurance?

It's not that, though, is it? Grocery workers aren't real people, apparently. Dan told me today about a guy we know who says he likes the strike. Why? He doesn't have to fight the crowd at Albertson's now.

Welcome to LA, land of the narcissist.

Posted by Tamar at October 26, 2003 08:51 PM

It is possible to be crossing the picket line for reasons that are neither narcissistic nor indicative of believing grocery workers 'aren't real people.' Me, I'm crossing the picket line now for a bunch of reasons, one of the top being what I told my 6-year-old daughter when she asked why I had changed my mind about the picketers--that everybody has to compromise, and as long as they're marching with 'no compromise' pickets, and as long as they're not sitting down at the table together, they're lost my support. And I'm generally about as liberal as they come.

Add to that the fact that I don't believe it's about getting decent health insurance--and yeah, I'm a little po'd to hear complaints about a $15 charge when I'm shelling out $170 a month from our single-income household (and I make about as much as the grocery workers) to keep myself, my dh and my kids insured--plus the fact that my kids' school is getting reamed with budget cuts and my escrip program only works at Ralphs and Vons...well, I'm crossing. And while you may not think those are 'good enough' reasons, I can tell you for sure that they're not frivolous, narcissistic or based on prejudice.

Posted by: Tiny Coconut at October 30, 2003 11:56 AM