Workers Unite

How can democracy exist in a nation shared by millions of workers making minimum wage and billionaires? History shows an effective way to spread the wealth is for workers to join unions. Earlier this month, workers in Brattleboro had a victory, and workers in the Springfield area held rallies.

On January 20 in Springfield, Chicopee, Westfield and West Springfield, there were rallies outside Price Rite stores that are paying workers low wages while the chain's owner gets rich.  The rallies were organized by the local chapter of a union-backed group that has a web site at www.jwj.org.

In Brattleboro, workers who are trying to form a union won a Vermont Supreme Court case on January 8. Doug Gibson works for a union that has a web site at www.vsea.org. "We're contacting the workers to find out what they want to do. They have been waiting two years for this decision," Gibson told the Valley Post in a telephone interview on January 22.

David Cahill was a worker in Brattleboro who supported the union two years ago when a state agency banned him and his co-workers from forming a union (the ban was overturned by the court). “I’m glad that the decision, regardless of whether you view it in a positive or negative light, will cause members of the public and state government to realize the long hours and dedication that our employees in state’s attorneys offices put into their job,” he told VTDigger.org earlier this month. Cahill moved out of the Valley during the two years it took the court to decide the case.

On average, workers in the USA make about 25 percent higher wages when they join a union. That's according to www.bls.gov. Most union contracts say workers can only be fired for "just cause." Non-union workers can be fired at any time for no reason.

In Brattleboro, people who want to support a union can buy their groceries at the Brattleboro Food Co-op, whose 160 or so workers are members of a union that has a web site at www.ufcw1459.com. The other two supermarkets in town, Hannaford and Price Chopper, are non-union. In Massachusetts, workers at the food co-ops in Northampton, Greenfield, and Shelburne Falls, and at all Stop and Shop stores, belong to the same union as the workers at the Brattleboro Food Co-op. All the grocery stores in Keene are non-union.

Comments

Food Co-ops

Food co-ops are really special. They're an indoor farmer's market/supermarket year round stocked with local produce, meat, milks, cheeses, maple syrup and more! They may also sell local crafts, have a wealth of information about local organizations and events and many have a community room available for meetings. Good stuff all around! Add the union worker connection to the mix and it's win-win! I particularly like the Brattleboro and Putney, VT and Greenfield, MA co-ops!

The Putney co-op is

The Putney co-op is non-union. Another good thing about the Brattleboro co-op versus Hannaford and Price Chopper is the co-op is downtown, rather than in a car-dependent strip mall. Also, it's locally owned and has affordable housing upstairs.

Eesha Williams

Post new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.