Patrick's Rants



11/9/2009

Does It Make Sense to Go On Strike Now?

Filed under: General,Politics,Stupid Ideas — site admin @ 10:34 am

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99 is threatening to strike over a purported dispute with Fry’s Food and Drug. Fry’s is taking a defensive move by advertising for temporary Clerks at $9.50/hr in case the Union actually calls the strike. According to whnt.com, the main sticking points are raises and health care.

The workers typically make between $7.20 and $12.05 per hour and can expect to receive $100 per week in strike pay if they walk out.

$100.00 per week to walk the line. As Dr Phil might say, “how’s that working for ya?”

Again from whnt.com

“Some of our members haven’t had a raise in six years,” said Jim McLaughlin, United Food & Commercial Local 99 President.

In what world does every single person deserve a raise every year? Not this one. Just because you belong to a union shouldn’t guarantee a yearly raise. When I was in high school a couple of my classmates worked for a grocery store, Publix if I remember right, and they talked about scanned items per minute and things like that. They were proud of their scanning rates and competed with each other over it. The company wants your line to move quickly and smoothly and so do I when I’m standing there. There is a checker whose line I won’t go through at Safeway because he is tediously slow with no apparent mental or physical impediments. He proudly wears his union pin, but if I were the manager I would not be giving him the same raise as the checker who can process twice as many items without breaking the eggs or smashing the bread. I would be checking the “conscientious” box for our Fry’s checker on Saturday who opened the 18 pack of eggs to check for cracked eggs (something my wife does anyway). That checker cares and deserves a regular raise.

Now, if you can bring yourself to read this obnoxious black on lavender blog1

(And if you block Myspace.com such as yours truly here is the Google cache from which I pulled my comments)

When I started Fry’s Food and Drug a while back, we were 6 months til our new contract was to be negotiated and to begin. Well, it’s a year almost to date and Fry’s hasn’t brought a dime to the table for they’re employees.

*FRY’S WILL ONLY GIVE A 25 CENT WAGE INCREASE TO EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE ALREADY TOPPED OUT ON THE PAY SCALE*

Really? Is that so bad? If these were bus drivers who were topped out they would have gotten somewhere around 1%-2%. Except not this year because they froze pay steps. Boohoo, only $0.25/hr when other employers are cutting employees and freezing pay. Period. End of story.

As of now, Fry’s is responsible for paying our Health Care Premiums which cost between $740 and $780.

*FRY’S WANTS ME TO PAY MY FAMILY’S PREMIUMS OUT OF MY POCKET WITH NO PAY RAISE*

Number one, that’s dirt cheap. Number two, most employers will not pay for your family. Not my (government) employer. If I wanted my family on my insurance plan I would end up with about half of my (not huge, but not minimum wage either) paycheck going to my family’s health insurance. So I’m not shedding any tears over you having to pay some of your insurance premiums. In fact, I’m on my employer’s policy, my wife is on her employer’s policy and our children are on a standalone policy that we bought that only covers catastrophic events. So full coverage for $780.00? That’s pretty damned good. Mouth, Gift Horse. You get the drift.

Ah, let’s see this little gem

Fry’s wants to give me and every other worker who has not topped out on our pay . . .

*20 HOURS A WEEK OF PAY WITH UP TO $780 TAKEN OUT OF MY PAYCHECK AND NO WAGE INCREASE UNTIL 2019.*

As George Costanza might say, “beep, beep, beep. Back up the truck.” Are you telling me that you are working part time and Fry’s pays for your insurance? And you are going to walk out on that benefit? Yes, I see that Fry’s wants to make you pay for your family’s health insurance. You are part time and good luck finding another employer with benefits that generous. Fry’s is coming back down to earth a little here.

Now, I agree with the 10,000 hour threshold being a little – okay, a lot – high. But again, there are no guarantees on pay raises to begin with.

*FRY’S WANTS THOSE OF US WHO HAVE NOT TOPPED OUT IN OUR PAY TO WORK 10,000 HOURS BEFORE ANY PAY INCREASE.*

But. If there are also merit raises, then who cares about the 10,000 hour threshold? Do a good job and get a pay increase, annual bonus and some stock in your 401(k). Do a crappy job and you might get to keep your union job. Notice the first quote didn’t say, “none of our members have gotten a raise in six years”. No. Even lavender girl says,

For me, I have had 2 raises in the 18 months of employment there.

Fry’s for their part has taken out full page ads in the paper which read in part,

The Union needs to be realistic. Many employees at companies in Arizona are not receiving raises, are paying more for health care and have seen their retirement funds decline without any help from their employers.

And also,

The union knows one way to avoid a strike is to give union members a chance to vote on our offer

Arizona has nearly 10% unemployment, I think Fry’s can get enough temporary workers to fill in. Mistake number one on the union’s part. Mistake number two, if it’s true, is not allowing the actual employees/members the chance to vote up or down on the company’s contract offer.

I haven’t tracked down the link, but Arizona Public Radio this morning reported that today, union members would be picketing union headquarters in Phoenix in order to force the union to allow union membership to have an actual vote on the Fry’s contract. Hey Local 99, if the offer is so bad it can’t hurt you to let your members vote on it. Instead you offer your members $100.00/week to protest the fact that you won’t let them vote Fry’s refuses to come up with a decent contract. I truly believe that Fry’s employees who picket will be hurt far more in the long run – in a right to work state to boot.

A scab asks: What are the chances they will keep me after the strike? Very low…

  1. This page literally hurt my eyes and the grammar – ugh, torturous. If you make it far enough down the page she has definitions, synonyms and antonyms. She would have done to use a spell check and the dictionary on her own site.

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