Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: Store does not exist as far as union members are concerned

Letter by Gerald Collen, Gig Harbor on Aug. 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm with 87 Comments »
August 7, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: “Grocer stalemate: No one has answers” (TNT, 8-5).

I work in the downtown area, along with about 1,500 fellow union workers. The IGA store does not exist as far as we are concerned. We drive right past it and really don’t care if it survives or not. We really don’t care.

We work around the clock and would be in there every day and night. The rewards of going union are great. But the store excluded us, and that’s was not very friendly towards its customer base.

The waterfront is loaded with empty businesses that ignored us. We will keep on driving by.

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Leave a comment Comments → 87
  1. Clamat0 says:

    So… do longshoremen (or should that be longshorepersons) only patronize union bars too?

  2. Those store fronts will continue to be vacant as long as we, as a community, allow a portion of the populous–in this case union members who apparently “don’t care” about anything but their union protections–to negatively impact a business whose private ownership has decided to invest in downtown.

    To the ownership of the Tacoma Grocer IGA: I thank you and pledge my patronage! The vast majority of this community supports you!

  3. alindasue says:

    As you point out, Mr. Collen, “The waterfront is loaded with empty businesses…”

    You are welcome encourage union friendly businesses to fill them. Until those union friendly businesses come forward with the plans and money to invest though, do not expect the community to exclude any of those businesses that actually do.

    I support worker’s rights to unionize for strength when negotiating better wages or working conditions. I do not support unions impeding businesses, where the employees are treated well and do not feel the need to organize, for no other reason that simply because they aren’t part of the union.

    That, in my opinion, defeats the purpose of unions – which is to support the needs of the employees.

  4. sandblower says:

    Not a very convincing letter Mr. Collen. alindasue has it about right again.

  5. Although I normally respect and support union efforts, my read on the union-iga brouhaha is that the issue is between the union and the store rather than between the workers and the store.

  6. A321196 says:

    Interesting, I do not see union pickets any more at the entrance to the shopping plaza for Winnco Foods????? I would think there are more jobs at Winnco than the downtown IGA. Union grocers had the opportunity for many years to open a downtown grocery store. No takers. Why? Downtown locations did not meet their corporate models. There were many storefront that were large enough for a grocer, such as the old Woolworth Building.

  7. philichi says:

    I really enjoy crossing the union line. I actually go out of my way to shop there.

    The real workers at IGA are friendly and nice. They too are sick and tired of the thugs walking up and down smoking their cigarettes and throwing the buts all of the ground. They really make our town look classy.

    There are a lot of non union businesses in town. Maybe they should picket all of them.

  8. aislander says:

    I think the picketers are a great draw for the business being picketed–let’s a lot of us know where to shop…

    And, xring, the issue is really between the union and the city. IGA is caught in the crossfire.

  9. Ortingmom says:

    And you do not exist as far as I am concerned. I support your right to picket and not support IGA just as I supoort IGA for not hiring union workers.

  10. averageJose says:

    Well Gerald, the store didn’t exclude you… you chose not accept empoyment by them.

  11. Listen, my father was a Teamster, and my wife is currently a member of a union. I have no beef with anyone who wants collective bargaining rights, but to post (for over a year) paid picketers outside a business that, by all accounts, treats its employees fairly, is nothing shy of bullying.

  12. sincere says:

    I read that Winco is an employee owned business,if that is true I could see the reluctence of becoming unionized.Someone clarify this for those that are still in the dark on this issue.

  13. cclngthr says:

    I feel employers have the right to pay a worker a wage he/she thinks is what that worker is worth, largely based off the work ethic and performance of that worker. If that worker is lazy to the employers standards, they should be paid less, or not at all than when that worker works their tail off.

    I shop at non-union businesses more than unionized businesses. What I see is the wages required by the union jack up the price of products in that store (than with non-union stores).

  14. truthbusterguy says:

    Gerry, you union longshore thugs are a bunch of hypocritics. I drive by your barking lot and see jap cars not made by your UAW brothers and sisters. I run into your union members in Walmart and you see their cars (with union stickers on the window) at many non union places of business.

    For me I go out of my way to shop non union stores. The prices are much better and the people are nicer. Go to a QFC and try to get a piece of meat cut when the union butcher is on his union smoke break. I no longer shop at QFC because they let their union members run their stores.

    Like phlichi above I go out of my way to cross picket lines and will continue to do so. Can’t you see the writing on the wall, you are part of the problem and Right to Work laws are the cure to your cancer.

  15. Scottc51 says:

    The union stores had the option of setting up and operating and chose not to. Now that someone actually tries to help our depressed downtown area with a full service grocery, picketers want to discourage customers. This is an act which is hostile to our city.

  16. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    I have a request for the union picketing this store. Will you hire 100 out of work labor ready people to picket this store. It will bring this store more publicity and you will have fewer dollars to donate to your boy obama and his hand puppets in congress,jay inslee and marie can’tvoteverywell.

    I agree with the comment that you are all hypocritical. I too see union members buying back to school, made in China clothes, in Walmart. And I would walk before I would buy a made by obama GM or Chrysler auto.

    Will someone give us a list of the union shops and stores in Tacoma so we can make sure to avoid them all.

    Will you take your longshoreman thug thoughts back to Longview WA and rejoin the kneebreakers down there. You will fit right in.

  17. took14theteam says:

    I will give an A to alindasue’s comment.

  18. Clamat0 says:

    I’ll second that, took.

    truthbusterguy, the hypocrisy of the ILWU goes waaaaaaay beyond simply patronizing non-union shops and driving imports. Ask anyone in the know and they’ll tell you that 80% of the business at the Port of Tacoma is import. Ships come in full and leave empty – with the exception of grain, raw logs, and some finished forrest product.

    Notice how these hypocrites are absent from the “buy american” mantra that the rest of unionized America so espouses. And even more hypocritical, probably 100% of the goods they off-load are made in non-union shops.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m tight with quite a few “A” men (as well as some upper-management port employees, and some folks in the stevedoring business – I get all sides). And I can tell you, not all ILWU members are idiots, like the writer. But they do know which side of their bread is buttered.

    BTW, I don’t know a single ILWU member who’ll be voting for 0bama.

  19. lylelaws says:


    Your comments were right on target and summed up things up very well.

  20. surething says:

    Alindasue, I typically think you are out there, but you nailed it today. :)

  21. All for alindasue stand up and holler! Yeah!

    Perfectly stated.

  22. Aislander – care to elaborate?

    Ccingthr – do you support minimum wage?

  23. normajean says:

    A person who joins a union may not have a choice if they need the job. Therefore if some choose to shop at non-union businesses so what. As a wife of an “A” registered marine supervisor clerk, I do not frequent non-union establishments that are known to treat their employees poorly & offer little to no benefits. As a couple we strive to purchase ”made in the USA whenever possible.”

    @Clamat0 I don’t know who you are exactly ”tight” with to be able to determine how the members of the ILWU will cast their vote in November. We are personally voting 3rd party but we are in the minority. It is comforting to learn from your statement that not all ILWU members are idiots & so it follows that not all commentators are idiots either but some are misinformed.

  24. I’ll join the alindasue fan club. A perfect response that hit the nail on the head.

  25. Clamat0 says:

    norma, obviously I’m not going to name names, but I will tell you that I don’t personally know any ILWU members who are idiots either.

    But I do know of members such as the letter-writer, and my opinion of them was previously stated.

    And did I mention that particular brand are hypocrites too?

    My friends in the ILWU are closet conservatives who fear if they spoke their minds, politically, there would be repercussions.

  26. tommy98466 says:

    I bet that every one of those union members are members of Costco that is also non-union. As usual organized labor picks and chooses whom they do business with. All hypocrits. Pathetic.

  27. SwordofPerseus says:

    I used to live downtown until recently and I could not be happier with the downtown grocer. I now live on the far west side and whenever I am downtown I patronize the T-town Grocery. The people are friendly and helpful. They have a wonderful produce section and a good selection of fine wine. I also like the deli and eat lunch there once a month at least.
    I think that organized labor has its place, rarely does it fit into a small local business such as this grocer. The picketers seem unconcerned and clueless. It seems unwise in these hard times or a union to picket this store. Normally a picket line is composed of striking workers who are in dispute with the Management/Ownership. That is not the case here and seems childishly punitive. I will continue to cross the so called picket line with pleasure. Unions are supposed to help people, in no way does this continued action help anyone. Long live the T-Town Grocer!

  28. JLSchweizer says:

    It just seems odd to me that IGA stands for Independent Grocers Alliance and they continue to be protested. Wouldn’t the definition automatically disqualify it for union representation?

    Anyway, they treat their workers well. What else is there?

  29. cclngthr says:


    Me support minimum wage? Not exactly. Why should I pay a worker a standard wage who seems to refuse to earn that wage? I firmly believe people should EARN their wages through hard work; something I had to learn, and still apply today. If you want a top notch worker, you hire those people who have a good work ethic; people who take pride in their work, in other words, stand behind what they do; and work hard, doing things with care and on a deadline and go above minimum standards when appropriate.

    I had a carpet installer replace my carpets in my entire home after what was previously done by another installer that was incorrect, and appeared like a kid did it. No care was done to hide seams, or put seams where the traffic did not cross the seams. The installer who replaced the carpet ASKED me personally how I wanted the seams and asked me how I used my wheelchair in my house and suggested he put seams in particular areas and took great care in hiding the seams so they could not be sean and took care that the seams would not separate. After a year, I still have a good carpet and the installation is like it was just installed.

  30. BigSwingingRichard says:

    What we need is for Governor Huckabee to pick an “IGA” day in Tacoma and encourage the 92% of Tacoma residents who are not union members to shop there.

  31. aislander says:

    xring: Did you not read the lo-o-o-ng article in the Trib that was dedicated to discerning the reasoning behind the picketing?

  32. MrCarleone says:

    Does Gerald Collen drive by the Downtown IGA, and shop at the Lakewood WalMart ?

  33. normajean says:

    @tommy98466 “I bet that every one of those union members are members of Costco that is also non-union. As usual organized labor picks and chooses whom they do business with. All hypocrits. Pathetic.”

    You bet that there are many union members who shop at Costco & why shouldn’t they? Costco pays a good wage along with great benefits – what’s not to support. The non-union worker at Walmart could not afford to shop at Costco because for the most part the employees are not paid a living wage & receive no benefits worthy of mention. Does it also follow that non-union workers should only shop at non-union businesses while union workers should only shop at union run businesses? Some of these non-union workers work full time but need food stamps to feed their families because of poor wages. Now that’s really pathetic & the hypocrisy lies in your staunch belief that unions not individuals choose whom they will do business with. Ever heard of ”Jobs For Justice”. Instead of bellyaching about the unions perhaps you & others should join them whenever they picket for worker’s rights in the workplace.

  34. What? There’s an IGA downtown??

  35. Unions may have had a purpose a century ago when conditions were different and a change was needed.

    Today unions have outlived their usefulness. They are a drain on our society and economy. They ruin progress and prosperity for anything other than their own pockets.

    I’ve seen union controlled places of employment. Most often you see the overpaid and under-worked, controlled by petty rules that only hinder those who actually want to get a job done.

  36. LeePHill says:

    “philichi says:
    Aug. 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm I really enjoy crossing the union line. I actually go out of my way to shop there.”

    Probably won’t spend the $4 to get across the bridge, much less try to find parking in Downtown Tacoma

  37. LeePHill says:

    “XBJ98N says:
    Aug. 8, 2012 at 7:23 am Unions may have had a purpose a century ago when conditions were different and a change was needed.
    Today unions have outlived their usefulness. They are a drain on our society and economy”

    There is the problem with our economy. People actually think that union wages and benefits hurt our economy, as opposed to providing families with more money to spend in the marketplace.

    Of course many people will spew the above quote without a clue as to what makes our economy tick…

  38. sjmiddle says:

    I’m sorry for you – you just keep driving by and go to another store and put up with rude store employees, outdated products (or not your product choices), parking problems, and crowds. That will leave more room at Tacoma City Grocer that truly like having it downtown.

  39. blakeshouse says:

    I will shop or buy products from a non union shop every time. Been on both sides of the issue and find the BS union rules and regs do nothing but require extra people to perform the same amount of work and in half the time. Those of us who take pride in the work we do won’t worry about finding an underling because our job title puts us above pushing a broom. Would love to see the Soviet State of Wa. become a right to work state.
    My wife works for Walmart and they pay a fair wage and we have descent bennies, not a cadilac plan like the unions, but good non the less.. The simpletons on the loony left who want to run our lives from cradle to grave can go pound salt

  40. “Closet conservatives.” Interesting. When did the social pressure to be “cool” trump personal integrity? I am aware of a lot of closet conservatives in various sub cultures…certainly college and university; also entertainment industry — who prefer to remain quiet rather than be accosted for their beliefs and opinions. I hope they all vote in November.

  41. I’m glad this subject came up. I wasn’t aware that there was an IGA store in Tacoma. I’ll make it a point to stop by there whenever I’m in town and do a little shopping.

  42. Cc ,
    Simple solution for any worker not earning their keep – fire them.

    Let me guess – you picked the first installer because he was the cheapest.

    Aislander – just thought you might have additional information to share.

    XB – I once say a UFO. Care to share the names of the union controlled business.

    Currently only about 1:12 private sector workers is a union member – how can so few have such big impacts on so many

  43. Seems like Pierce County is against employment, growth and expansion. Major companies moving to King County where they support businesses, transportation, sporting venues etc. Pierce County was one of the few counties that still have a negative employment growth. Residents in Pierce are not economically saavy like other productive counties.

  44. normajean says:

    @Blakeshouse: “My wife works for Walmart and they pay a fair wage and we have descent bennies, not a cadilac plan like the unions, but good non the less.. The simpletons on the loony left who want to run our lives from cradle to grave can go pound salt”.

    My son worked for Walmart before I married into a union family. I guess your definition of decent wage & benefits differ greatly from mine. Unless you have major seniority, a person with 1 income from Walmart
    would have difficulty living on that income no matter how hard he or she worked. Its all about decent wages for all. Walmart closed a store where I was living laying off workers in order to prevent the employees from organizing. Rare to hear a good union man or woman complain about wages & working conditions. How do you protect the labor force from greedy, uncaring & abusive employers who are only interested in the bottom line? Not all unions tow the line but those that do are there to represent the worker. Nothing is perfect but I would rather have a union supporting me than an employer suppressing my rights as a working individual. I have done both

  45. LeePHill says:

    The Return of Sozo!

    “Good Bye Cruel Blog” is not a terminal condition.

    Welcome back.

  46. LeePHill says:

    normajean – let us not forget that union workers have been compromising on wage and benefit reductions for several years to help with the economy (as if it does). My guess is that “blakeshouse” is a right wing hack who really knows little to nothing about Walmart or what constitutes a reasonable wage.

    As to benefits, just ask the State who is cashing in on benefits that they offer – Walmart employees.

  47. alindasue says:

    We’ve gone from an argument about whether union members should be picketing a non-union store simply because it’s employees don’t belong to a union to polarized rants about unions are evil verses non-union is evil.

    How about we bring some reality back into the conversation, eh.

    My husband and I have worked several jobs over the years, both union and non-union. What we have learned is that some employers pay better than other employers; some employers need a little union push to provide decent wages and benefits, others don’t. Currently, my husband works at two non-union jobs and my job is union. He earns a decent wage and benefits from both his employers. My wage is not high by any definition BUT both my wage and benefits are considerably better than they were before we voted to join the union.

    The point is that belonging to a union is a good thing. Working for a shop where the employer pays decent wages without the employees having to unionize to get them is also a good thing.

    Employees striking against an employer who refuses to bargain in good faith with his employees is a good use of union power. Striking against an employer for no other reason than his employees don’t belong to a union… not so good.

    It’s not just union members who’ve had to deal with wage freezes and reductions in this economy. They’re just the only ones whose bosses had to ASK for the concessions.

    normajean said, “Unless you have major seniority, a person with 1 income from Walmart would have difficulty living on that income no matter how hard he or she worked.”

    Unfortunately, in our current society, it is very difficult for most families to live on just one income – especially on retail wages, even from stores where the employees to belong to a union.

    JLSchweizer said, “Anyway, they treat their workers well. What else is there?”


  48. Clearly it doesn’t exist to Union Members, they aren’t even the ones out front picketing for the most part. Thats the hired help right? Unions can’t even be bothered to do their own striking. The folks they’ve selected to walk the picket line aren’t a fine example. I go to that store every day (because of the picketers not inspite of them) and as I said before, I am blocked by them loitering around, smoking, with all their crap on the ground. But I’ll continue to support this clean, polite, well ran business with friendly employees who EARN their job and don’t get to keep it because of threats of “going to my union”. I’ve been union and I’ve been not. I’ll take not. Worked with folks for too many years that kept their jobs because they were union, even though they were lousy employees.

  49. commoncents says:

    Personally I’ll take a person who works SMART and EFFICIENT over a person who works hard any day. That type of work ethic is not limited to union or non-union shops nor does the possessor always have initials after their name. Customer Service and good work ethic isn’t guaranteed coming from a $40/hour with tips waiter at the MET any more or less than it is coming from an $8/hour cashier at Jimmy Johns. It’s all about the individual.

    When I see hard work and customer service than I am a repeat customer. When I don’t I’m not.

    Everything else is just noise.

  50. cclngthr says:

    I rent, and the apartment management had the carpet installed before I moved in, but the carpet they installed was defective and the underlayment was separating so the company sent in a second installer to figure out what was going on and fix it. They ended up removing the entire carpet and replacing it.

  51. arttheshark says:

    The unions have become nothing but big business themselves and only care about the dues they collect. Want to know why they leave the big boys alone, and in particular Costco? Because Costco, one of the largest contributors to the Democratic Party supports the union backed candidates and thus are given a pass. Just look at who hosted the $35,000 a plate dinner for the President when he was here. It was the CEO of Costco. No doubt there was a lot of working stiffs in attendance.

  52. normajean says:

    I do in fact doubt that there were a lot of working stiffs in attendance. Bravo to Costco for having the balls to host such an event. Again I will reiterate that many union members support Costco because they pay a living wage and they offer good benefits. Goal of most unions is to have fair compensation for employees. Corporations are not people but unions are & more credit has to be given to free thinking individuals who vote according to their beliefs. Why does one have to work 2 non-union jobs to make ends meet?

  53. Arttheshark – do no confuse the Costco CEO with the rank and file Costco workers.

    Normaj – unions are no more ‘people’ than corporations.

    Goal of ALL unions should be the good of their members – the workers.

    The Tacoma IGA appears to treat its employees well enough that the workers do not want to unionize. The picket line has nothing to do with workers but with something between union and iga managements. Which is why I do not obey the picket line.

  54. alindasue says:

    normajean said, ” Why does one have to work 2 non-union jobs to make ends meet?”

    For the same reason it often takes two union jobs to make ends meet. The cost of living has gone up that much since the 60s.

    See xring’s last comment. I deserves a second read.

  55. normajean says:

    @Alindasue & Xring. I don’t agree with you about unions & corps. Unions are made up of individuals. Union leaders are voted in or out by the members. CEO has to answer to shareholders not their employees. We all know that the cost of living has gone up but there is something very wrong with the need to work more than 1 full time non union job unless these are part time jobs. Would this be necessary if these jobs were union?
    I don’t know the answer but probably worth the research.

    Regardless my husband & I will support any organization, union or not, which provides adequate compensation to its employees.

  56. philichi says:

    normajean and the rest of you, BS. You don’t really go to the store and buy apples as long as the farmer paid wages that you approved of. You don’t chose your car that way either. You don’t buy your tomato sauce or your beans that way. You look at the ads in the paper. You bring in your coupon and pick up the cheapest or best value you can get.

  57. LeePHill says:

    Uh….no. I shop the stores I like and buy what I want…not what is cheapest.

    “arttheshark says:
    Aug. 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm The unions have become nothing but big business themselves and only care about the dues they collect.”

    Of course, they don’t provide negotiating services…….

  58. ThomasSkidmore says:

    Without Unions most the of anti-union (and no doubt Republicons) would be working for 25-cents a day – their education level would even be lower than it obviously is and their life span would be about 40. But the sad example they serve is to show what a terrible job organized labor has done in reaching out to a public showered with employer propaganda (and “new”papers). They can blame no one but themselves for the likes of clowns like “Leephill”…sad. Regardless I don’t cross picket lines and give it 3-5 years and that store will be gone.

  59. Cc – rented apartment – highly probable first job was to low bidder, family member, or friend.

    First lesson my mate taught me – better quality than quantity.
    I have never shopped at WalMart because I do not approve of the way they mistreat their workers and suppliers.

    Thomas – the conditions you describe are what the Republicons want to re-establish.

  60. tellnolies says:

    “You look at the ads in the paper. You bring in your coupon and pick up the cheapest or best value you can get.”

    Your assertion, Philichi, is ridiculous and false. Not everyone is motivated solely by money.

  61. alindasue says:

    normajean said, “Unions are made up of individuals. Union leaders are voted in or out by the members.”

    Yes, they are, which is why I can never understand the “evil unions” stance. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that both xring and I support collective bargaining. It is through the strength of the collective members that employees are able to have their concerns addressed in work situations where the employer is not treating them well already. In situations where the employees are already treated well and paid a fair wage, they may not feel the need for collective bargaining – which is fine – but unions are available for them to join if they decide they do need to.

    However, he is correct that the unions themselves are no more “people” than corporations are. Both are made up of people, but they are not “people” themselves. (By the way, some corporations do vote in their CEO and board of directors.)

    normajean: “Would this be necessary if these jobs were union?
    I don’t know the answer but probably worth the research.”

    My “research” consists of personal experience. As I said before, my husband and I have worked both union and non-union jobs over the years.

    Unfortunately, the answer to your question is often “yes”. It is difficult to raise a family these days on just one full time job, even if that job were union, particularly if that job were in the retail or service fields where even union wages tend to be lower.

    normajean:”Regardless my husband & I will support any organization, union or not, which provides adequate compensation to its employees.”


    philichi said, “You look at the ads in the paper. You bring in your coupon and pick up the cheapest or best value you can get.”

    Yes, I look at the ads FOR THE STORES THAT NORMALLY SHOP AT and pick the best value. When something I normally use as a staple item is on sale, I stock up.

    I learned years ago that “cheapest” isn’t cheapest if I have to go out of my way to get it. I also learned that when I shop at regular stores where the employees are happy and give good service (one often leads to the other), that my overall grocery bill really isn’t any higher than if I chased around town for the bargain shops and loss leaders.

    However, this is all getting away from the original topic which is unions picketing stores like the downtown IGA for no other reason that the employes don’t belong to a union. My rule of thumb is that if the store’s employees are on strike, I won’t cross the picket line, BUT if the people waving “unfair” signs don’t work there or don’t even represent the store’s employees, then I have no qualms about walking right past the picketers.

    A store that pays fairly without needing union pressure to do so is to be praised. From all reports, City Grocery IGA pays it’s employees at least as well as the union grocers do. If I were in the area, I would shop there. My brother, who lives downtown, already does. He says it’s a pretty nice place.

  62. Pchi – my wife looks in the paper for coupons that are good at stores she stops at for items she wants or needs to buy.

  63. LeePHill says:

    Skidmore….take a reading class.

    I’m from a union family, that supports unions.

    Sarcasm isn’t your strong suit.

  64. normajean says:

    Well it appears that some individuals see the need to support businesses that treat their employees well regardless of unions or not. I totally agree with that thinking but alindasue when CEO & boards of directors are voted into office, it is by the shareholders & never by the employees unless it is an employee owned business sharing in the profits and these are very few. I believe it is fair to say that the current economy is hurting most everyone. I hope that as a community we can come together regardless of political affiliations to support small business. There is a web site that lists all products made in the USA. Worth a look as even TV’s are no longer made in this country

  65. alindasue says:

    normajean said, “There is a web site that lists all products made in the USA.”

    Even though it is slightly off the topic for this thread, I’m glad you mentioned this site. I used to have it bookmarked but lost it when my main hard drive had to be replaced. Could you post the link, please?

  66. normajean says:

    @alindasue: This is one link of a few: americansworking.com

    “The “Buy American Act” states that in order for a company to label a product as being made in America, more than 50% of the product’s parts must have been manufactured in the U.S. The Act also requires the U.S. government to prefer American-made prod.” I don’t know how realistic the last sentence is.

  67. Normajean,
    Maybe corporations should have one member of their board of directors elected by the employees rather than by the stockholders.

  68. In neither of my two businesses, or in any of my former businesses have the employees moved to organize and join a union. I would fully support them if they did, and I would negotiate and bargain in good faith, but my employees and I do that anyway. In fact, in one of my businesses, we have a strategic plan where employees are buying me and my partners out and will own the business in a few years.

    If employees have the same benefits without paying dues to a union, what is the attraction of a union, other than making an ideological statement?

    I think some of the tactics of some corportions, like Walmart, in keeping employees from organizing, are atrocious, and employees needed to try to organize to overcome the practices that kept most employees at half-time or less, kept many employees from having full benefits, etc. Just the threat of unionizing made WalMart change many of its practices.

    Show me that this store does not provide appropriate working conditions, pay, benefits, etc. and that the employees want to unionize but are being thwarted, and I would support the pickets. Otherwise, it is a misguided union effort that signifies that they are too weak and offer nothing.

  69. normajean says:

    @tuddo. if you read my post, I cited where my son had worked for Walmart in the province of Quebec. In 1 Walmart the employees tried to join a union because they were not being treated well & Walmart closed that store & laid off the workers. What more do you need? Go o/l & visit Jobs for Justice, an organization fighting for workers’ rights. I agree that if an employer is fair with employees, I see no reason for unions to make the attempt but to be supported of the employer but frequented his or her businesses. It is sad when you know first hand that a full time employee needs to use food stamps to get by – wrong in everyway

  70. MyBandito says:

    The public doesn’t care about the employees. No matter how much good organized labor has done for their members and our economy, all the public cares about is how can they get things cheaper. Wal-Mart does a good business because of the perception that their prices are less because they pay their employees less.

    Labor unions need to shed their concern for approval and concentrate on the well being of their members, those who make our economy strong. Our prosperity depends on the prosperity of the middle class.

  71. alindasue says:

    Given the costs involved in opening a store like Walmart, it is highly unlikely that that one Walmart was shut down simply because its employees tried to unionize. (A lock-out of the employees, and new people hired, would seem a more likely action…) It’s more likely that that particular store was already on the list of branches slated to be shut down. Had there been another Walmart or two built nearby? That – or not enough customer base – are the two biggest reasons a chain would shut down one of its branches.

    Regardless, we aren’t talking about Walmart here. We are talking about an IGA that by all reports treats its customers well. To boycott it or picket it for no other reason than its employees don’t belong to a union just doesn’t make sense.

  72. alindasue says:

    Oops… that should read “…by all reports treats its EMPLOYEES well.”


  73. MyBandito says:

    Even Wal-Mart knows that it is an unfair labor practice to treat an employee differently, if that employee is interested in organizing. Closing that store solved two problems. It stopped the employees from organizing, which would have encouraged others, and it intimidated employees at other stores who may have the same aspirations. I wonder what the owner of the IGA threatens his employees with? We haven’t heard a peep from them, just vague reports of being treated well, whatever that means.

    How well are they paid? Do they get vacation or sick time? Healthcare? Pension? Are they full time or part time? What’s the turnover like?


  74. normajean says:

    @Alindasue. It was a new Walmart built close to Trois Rivieres, Quebec & it was closed for the reasons I mentioned. It wasn’t an if or maybe it was a fact pursued by many a reporter back then. They tried to organize & to nip it in the bud they closed the store & laid off the workers. Mybandito has a handler on it and I agree that corps care little for workers and will do whatever it takes to protect their bottom line.

  75. took14theteam says:

    In neither of my two businesses, or in any of my former businesses

    So tuddo, who has been appointed by Bush and Locke to positions, now owns two businesses and has had former businesses.

    To use his logic from other comments, I say “prove” it.

  76. took14theteam says:

    Since O’Canada is a socialist country, I am sure the Wal-mart that was shut down was compensated by the government for the infrastructure….

  77. normajean says:

    @took14theteam: Please let me enlighten you about Canada, It is not a socialist country nor has it ever been. Having universal health care does not a socialistic government make. Why are you sure that Wal-Mart was compensated by the government? Where did you get your info?

  78. alindasue says:

    normajean said, ” Having universal health care does not a socialistic government make.”

    Finally! Somebody said it! Although that’s a topic for a different discussion thread, I’m happy that someone actually came out from behind the talking points on the healthcare reform topic.

    I too would like to see the source of took14theteam’s info about “compensated by the government.”

  79. MyBandito says:

    “Wal-Mart has been the subject of some criticism by certain groups who claim that they have lower labour standards than other similar retailers. Other criticisms centre around the claim that due to their low prices they drive out local businesses.”

    “There are also accusations that Walmart Canada has engaged in some practices that discourage associates from exercising their right to join a union and negotiate a collective bargaining agreement. Wal-Mart closed their Saguenay, Quebec store, in April 2005 after workers unionized and just days before contract settlement by binding arbitration, putting 190 employees out of work. Wal-Mart argued that the store wasn’t profitable and the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed 6-3 on November 27, 2009 that the company had the legal right to close the store.[11] Wal-Mart also closed its automotive centre in Gatineau, Quebec, after employees unionized and an arbitrator imposed a 33 per cent wage increase. At Saint-Hyacinthe Wal-Mart, the 200 employees had organized successfully in January 2005 but contract negotiations stalled and an arbitrator was called in, finally reaching a two-year deal on April 9, 2009.[12]”

    “Walmart Canada has been accused of undermining internet rights and freedom of speech, as a result of its June 2009 decision to seek an injunction against the Walmart Workers Canada campaign and its longstanding Walmart Workers Canada website[13] in particular, a labour rights website sponsored by UFCW Canada.”


  80. took14theteam says:

    @the ladies with two first names. You know the routine here used by some of the regular posters (xring and tuddo come to mind), it is up to YOU to prove ME wrong.


  81. MyBandito says:

    After finding no link about Wal-Mart receiving any compensation, I am just as sure that Wal-Mart was not compensated by the Canadian government for the infrastructure….

  82. took14theteam says:

    Apparently, my comment I am sure the Wal-mart that was shut down was compensated by the government for the infrastructure….

    Should have included

    :::::Tongue in cheek:::::

    My bad.

  83. xring, I’m glad to hear that you don’t shop at WalMart. I just got back from there and spent over $150.00 and enjoyed the experience. Maybe it is because that you were not there is what made it more pleasurable experience than usual. Please make it a point to go to another, more expensive union store.

  84. normajean says:

    Many believe in a fair wage for a job well done. I too will continue to shop elsewhere because I can. But for many this is not possible & I respect their need for affordable goods regardless of a company’s internal policies. I am pleased & respectful Frosty that you enjoyed your shopping experience at Walmart having spent all that money in 1 place and hope that you have many more such experiences.

  85. took14theteam, there is a difference in using factual statements that are provable, opinion and personal experience. Those three things take different levels of “proof”.

    An opinion really can not be proved, it can only be formed through facts and experience and judgment.

    The only answer to an opinion is “I agree” or “I disagree”.

    You (along with most of the far-righties who quote the Fox News order of the day) throw out opinions, state them as if they are facts and dare people to prove or disprove them.

    I sometimes state facts, which some people have successfully shown are outdated or come from a suspect process or even wrong some of the times. I don’t have a problem with that at all. It helps clarify the issues.

    I also present opinions as well as personal experience as examples of why I have an opinion. In my business example that you asked me to prove, I don’t care to get free advertising in the paper by disclosing the names or details in this arena.

    Likewise, I shall not provide copies of my papers to people asking me to prove I was in the military. If you don’t believe me, then that is your right.

    I don’t get into the frequent discussions on this board about people not telling the truth about who they are or whether they have had former personas on the threads, or stuff like that. It doesn’t interest me or pertain to me. Ad hominem attacks are not my style. The actual issues, with discussions based logic and reason are more interesting to me.

    However, I will call into question statements that are presented as facts that have no evidence to support them or where I have evidence that they are not actually factual.

    The example of your statement that “O’Canada is a socialist country” which was called into question by others, depends on what you accept as a definition of a socialist country.

    If it is countries which call themselves socialist, then Wikipedia has a list and Canada is not on it.

    If you use the most common definitions of capitalism and socialism, then Candada is as capitalistic as the United States.

    Capitalism is an economic system where the means of production are owned by private individuals. Socialism is an economic system where the means of production, such as money and other forms of capital, are owned by the state or public.

    If you were just throwing out an opinion, then all I can do is say, “I disagree” based on the two reasons I cited above. Then, if you care to defend your proposition, you will need to provide logic and reason and evidence to support your statement.

  86. took14theteam says:

    Well thanks for that lecture tuddo.

    Not picking a fight with you, but you are disingenuous when you say you state something is a fact versus opinion.

    You go on a 1000 word dissertation about something and claim it is fact, but never provide proof to back up your “facts”. Then when someone calls you on it, you say go look it up. Or you claim it is your “opinion”.

    Perhaps you need to include a disclaimer when you comment stating the following is a fact, go look it up, or the following is my opinion, there will be nothing to back that up. Then the majority of us might be able to read your comments and move on (or gloss over them like we do with the estrogen challenged one).

    Maybe you need to take that pedestal down a few notches before you fall off. Just trying to help….

  87. You are welcome. Just trying to help. I just regret that debate is not in the curriculum anymore so that people can learn to discern when people are using objective facts, deductive reasoning, or rhetoric.

    It’s easy if you try.

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