Workers Strike

On August 4, striking workers held a rally outside the Market Basket grocery store about two miles from Keene in Swanzey, New Hampshire. About 10,000 people attended a rally for the striking Market Basket workers near Boston on August 5. Market Basket has about 25,000 workers at its grocery stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.

The Market Basket workers don't have a union, but a union-funded group is supporting their strike. “Market Basket workers have a legal right to engage in collective action in defense of their benefits and working conditions,” according to www.massjwj.net which is funded by most of the unions in Massachusetts. That web site lists ways the public can support the Market Basket workers, and information about how Market Basket workers who are punished by the company for going on strike can get free help from a lawyer.

Union workers in the USA make about 29 percent higher wages than non-union workers. That's according to www.bls.gov. Unions dues are usually 2 percent of members' wages.

The only grocery stores in the Valley whose workers have a union are River Valley Market in Northampton; Greenfields Market in Greenfield; McCusker's Market in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, near Greenfield; the Brattleboro Food Co-op; and Stop and Shop, which has stores in Springfield and throughout the Valley. All of these stores, except Stop and Shop, are democratically run by anyone who pays a lifetime membership fee, usually around $75. The fee can be refunded at any time that you want to stop being a member.

In related news, on July 25 in Brattleboro, about 60 people attended a rally in support of landline telephone workers who said they may soon go on strike. They work for Fairpoint Corporation, which is the monopoly provider of landline telephone and DSL internet in Vermont and New Hampshire. More rallies around New Hampshire and Vermont are planned for August 12. The public is invited. Details are available at www.FairnessAtFairpoint.com or by calling the Communications workers union at (603) 436-4388.

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