While traveling along the Pacific Coast Highway (near Sunset Blvd. and Topanga Cyn.) in Southern California, I came across people that were picketing in front of the Vons in Pacific Palisades. Employees of the Ralphs in Malibu were picketing on PCH near the entrance to Vons, while employees of Vons were picketing in front of the store where they normally go to work.
When I first arrived, most of the picketers appeared to be pretty worn out, both mentally and physically. Most of the striking employees have been picketing about 6 hours a day, and their union funds, from which they are collecting money, are running dry. It has been demoralizing to see some of their co-workers cross the line and go back to work, as well as customers crossing the line daily. However, business has been pretty slow at Vons and many people are very supportive of the strike by totally avoiding Vons or conciously spending less money at Vons.
Solidarity came in many forms. And, as the striking employees witnessed the acts of solidarity, the mood of the employees began to transform and they were again bosterious and full of energy.
HOLD THE LINE FOR HEALTHCARE!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Did you know that Vons is owned by Safeway?
Corporate Swine's Swine of the Month for January 2004 is.....
As their profits rise, Safeway (Vons), Ralphs and Albertsons are demanding that their hard-working employees pay over $1 billion in healthcare costs and take severe wage cuts.
Currently, over 70,000 members of the UFCW Union who work for "The Big Three" are out on picket lines fighting for their rights for healthcare and living wages. This is at the same times that Vons, Ralphs, and Albertsons' profits have risen by 32%, 84%, and 123% respectively.
Salaries of the executives who work for these corporations have increased by 260%. On average, CEOs Steve Burd, David Dillon, and Larry Johnston earned $2.6 million in 2003.
Workers in the Los Angeles stores of these three chain grocers are now in their 13 weeks of striking. A labor rally in Beverly Hills in December was recorded as being the largest in history, though, and picket lines are still in effect. In the bay area, signs posted at Safeways (Vons) calmly confirm that the workers here are not on strike. But shopping at these stores still increases store profits and allows the injustices to continue.
2003 Net Sales
Albertsons: $35.6 Billion
Safeway: $32.4 Billion
Ralphs: $51.8 Billion
Stay up to date on Corporate Swine by visiting CorporateSwine.Net and, this just in, CorporateSwine.Com!
Be sure to check out all the photos from this story! They are posted on Indybay.org.