October 16, 2003

Corporate Greed vs. Human Need


Over the past several days, Southern California supermarket workers have been voting on a contract offer from three of the largest supermarket operators in the country.

They have been confronted with a stark choice: give up health care benefits for not only themselves and their families, but also, for future generations of supermarket workers.

In unprecedented numbers, Southern California supermarket workers turned out to vote and sent a clear message: we will fight for affordable health care.

They delivered a mandate to their union that they will strike, if needed, to save health care for their families and strike to save health care coverage for the next generation of workers.

These workers are heroes. They are willing to make the sacrifice to take up the fight to save health care.

This is a fight for all Southern California workers.  It is a fight for all supermarket workers—union and non-union—here and across the country because if these three supersize, super-profitable, supermarket chains can cut benefits here, then every worker is at risk.

The UFCW is announcing that on October 11, workers will strike one of the supermarket chains. We will limit our job action to a single chain, so we will limit the inconvenience to our customers.

We are asking the employers to also respect our customers and not to take retaliatory action against workers through a lock out. There should be no lock out.

After all, the customers are the ones that we depend on for our jobs and the companies for their profits.

Following today’s meeting with the companies and the federal mediator, we will announce the time and the target of the strike.

We will make an effort to avoid a strike but, workers will not give up on health care.  We are not asking for more, we are asking to keep the benefits that we have.

There is information on this website about company profits and health care costs.

Employers’ profits have risen 10 times faster than their hourly contribution to worker health care.

Their profits overall have gone up 91% since 1998.

We have contained health cares cost. The increased costs for health care for these employers have been significantly below the national average.

This is a battle between corporate greed and human need and, we are asking our communities to stand with us.   We are your friends and your neighbors. We serve you everyday in your local supermarket. We ask for your support.

If the supermarket giants win, Southern California loses.  These companies would drain over 328 million dollars a year from Southern California because when they cut health care for workers, they rip off California.