Tomorrow is the moment of truth.
Are the proprietors of large supermarket chains willing to be reasonable and allow workers to maintain a decent standard of living, or will dreams of even bigger yachts and backroom parties at the Bellagio get in the way of making a reasonable offer to supermarket workers in Southern California?
Let's hope past is not prologue, or a number of corporate oligarchs may be in for a bumpy ride not only in Southern California, but nationwide. As explained in a recent article in the Los Angeles City Beat:
Three weeks ago, when Southern California grocery workers announced a June 21 deadline to end their six-month back-and-forth with the big three supermarket chains, Vons, Ralphs, and Albertsons, it took exactly one week for their union brethren in Texas to terminate their contract extensions and start talking work stoppage. On June 11, workers in Toledo, Ohio did likewise, switching from a general, ongoing contract extension to a "meeting-by-meeting" extension, at the same time that similar talks have heated up in Oregon and Washington State. Rumblings have even been heard coming out of talks with the mostly independent grocery chains in St. Louis, Missouri. Now, as Los Angeles' cut-off date arrives with no agreement in sight, some labor voices are warning not just about picket lines, but about nationwide picket lines.
"This is part of a much larger fight across the U.S., of companies attempting to eliminate middle class jobs for maximum shareholder profits," says Mike Shimpock, a spokesperson for the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the union representing grocery workers, "It's happening all over the country, [these strikes] could certainly end up going national. They could engulf the entire West Coast. The markets are playing a very, very dangerous game of chicken in order to save a few pennies."
So there you have it. We'll know the answer tomorrow, as the last meeting before a potential strike is taking place with workers and the corporates sitting down together.
But if this is not resolved quickly and fairly, so that workers do not have to see their healcare disappear and wages continue to stagnate, then it may be time for a few corporate chieftains to strap themselves in. For it's going to be a bumpy ride.