Justice

Join the JLC in supporting grocery workers in LA

Hey all you Jewschool readers out in LA, this tidbit was passed on to me by my buddies at the Jewish Labor Committee. Come out for an hour Sunday and show your support:
Join the JLC as we march for supermarket workers this Sunday!
Please Take a Hour to Join Us as the California-Western region Jewish Labor Committee (CA-WR JLC) & Nabet-CWA March in Support of the Grocery Workers and their Fight for Healthcare & Decent Wages
This Sunday, June 24th
10 am-11:30 am
@ ALBERTSON’S
3838 W. Verdugo Ave, Burbank
(Hollywood Way & Verdugo)
March and add your voice in support of the grocery workers and their struggle.
Please wear your union or organization’s T-shirt. Help us show Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons that people care and support these hard working employees!
The Torah teaches Tzedek, tzedek tirdof — Justice, justice shell you pursue.
Join us as we gather in pursuit of justice for supermarket workers.
Let’s all gather united in solidarity for the welfare of these supermarket workers.
As the book of proverbs teaches us (31:8): Speak out for those who cannot speak, speak up for the rights of the unfortunate.
For more information call:
Cookie Lommel, CA-WR Jewish Labor Committee, ph. 323-658-5500, [email protected]
or Larry Mono, Nabet/CWA 53 ph. 818-846-049, email: [email protected]

6 thoughts on “Join the JLC in supporting grocery workers in LA

  1. Are the grocery workers employed against their will? If employer health insurance is a dealbreaker for them, then why don’t they apply for jobs that provide it? Conversely are they willing to take employer-provided health insurance if the cost is deducted from their current salaries?
    What if employer provided health insurance leads to higher food costs? Will that be “just” for families and other laborers who have to pay that cost? What if the food store provides insurance only after, say, 12 months of employment–does “justice” demand that they also provide insurance for the first 12 months? If the employees’ current wages are “indecent” couldn’t they go to work instead at stores with “decent” wages? (BTW what does decent mean in this context?) I sometimes wonder if these questions are comprehensively considered… but maybe I’m wrong and JLC does have strong answers to them.
    Tzedek tzedek tirdof addresses the functioning of the judicial system. I think applying it to the various contract terms of employees who are working voluntarily in their chosen jobs is probably an overreach.

  2. If you want to raise the wage and fringe benefits of the lower rung of Americans, then support tougher measures against illegal immigration. Part of the reason our bottom 20% isn’t paid more is the even lower priced competition from illegal aliens. So don’t wast your time on the bs labour marches, keep out unfair illegal alien competition – isn’t it clear the reason corporate america is supporting the new amnesty bill is to secure a steady stream of slave labour?

  3. I think the illegal aliens point is really interesting and often overlooked. Basically it’s impossible for us humans to be compassionate to everyone simultaneously. “Compassion” for illegal aliens may look quite different to a citizen employee whose wages/benefits are being cut because of the availability of much cheaper labor. On the other hand, cheaper labor will lead to lower prices which might be “compassionate” for poorer customers.
    So who should we be more “compassionate” to? I dunno, but it is complex.

  4. I agree with Eric. If I don’t like the benefits or wages of a job, I don’t take it or quickly move to another job. Several years ago, I worked my way up from night stocker to dairy manager at a local chain that is now part of Safeway. I know the kind of work it requires. The reason grocery workers don’t make much is because it is unskilled work.
    Instead of marching against the stores, how about focusing that effort to provide skills for the people you want to help? Personally, I think that would be much more beneficial than making an unskilled job pay more. Those marchers have the passion to help these people, I would like to see it directed at something more useful.

  5. The reason grocery workers don’t make much is because it is unskilled work.
    Instead of marching against the stores, how about focusing that effort to provide skills for the people you want to help? Personally, I think that would be much more beneficial than making an unskilled job pay more.

    Helping these workers find better-paying jobs would be beneficial to these individuals, but would do nothing to solve the underlying societal problem (just as the part of NCLB that lets students transfer out of failing schools does nothing to improve education). Everyone (except subsistence farmers) needs grocery stores, and all grocery stores need employees. If our society, in order to function, requires some people to be earning poverty wages and have no healthcare, then our society is broken. Regardless of how much career mobility is available, there will always be unskilled jobs that need to be done, but society must still make it possible for people who hold these jobs to live decent lives.
    Before I say anything about the specific case, I’d like to know more details. Are these workers unionized already, or are they fighting for the right to start a union?

  6. BZ,
    What’s so bad about helping individuals? Just whom are we required to do tzedaka and chesed for if not individual people, responding to their individual situations and needs? I would argue that not every problem, personal or social, needs to have a single grand “SOLUTION”. As a wonderful saying I’ve heard goes “Life is managed, not cured”. Every society needs some people to work in non-specialized (aka “unskilled”) labor–why is that wrong? If the employees don’t want to work there then can’t they just find another job? Also every non-specialized laborer in society needs to find an employer who wants their work.
    >>Helping these workers find better-paying jobs would be beneficial to these individuals, but would do nothing to solve the underlying societal problem (just as the part of NCLB that lets students transfer out of failing schools does nothing to improve education).
    To me that sounds like saying “It’s all very nice to put emergency slides on a Boeing 747. But that does nothing to solve the underlying engineering problem of an airplane that crashes.” Great, but in the real world airplanes can crash and schools can fail.
    What would be a better solution? Should the engineers say “Gosh darn it! We’re NOT going to put emergency slides on this airplane because we refuse to produce a plane that even has the possibility of crashing!” For their part such engineers would be fired for gross negligence if not imprisoned under psychiatric observation.
    But that’s the equivalent of saying: “We’re not going to allow children to switch out of failing schools–instead we’re going to keep them there until we have a perfect educational system.” Wow. That’s great for bureaucrats and social theorists but very bad for the children and families (usually poor) that are imprisoned in failed schools.
    In this case it sounds like you’re saying “It would all be very nice to help people attain better jobs, but that does nothing to solve the problem of the existence of worse jobs.” Well first of all maybe you should ask what the people you’d be helping think about that. Secondly most people start at lower jobs and work their way up if they choose to. “Low” jobs are there b/c there are people who want and need them.
    In terms of grocery workers what does “poverty wages” mean in practical terms? As a rule the store gains a certain amount of income because of the work of a given employee and then pays that employee a salary that corresponds to his/her economic productivity. The employee agrees to work to XYZ standard in exchange for the income provided by the store. The question remains: If a worker wants her employer to provide health insurance then why doesn’t she just go work for such an employer? And if the price of health insurance will be deducted from the paycheck, is that a “just” solution? And couldn’t the employee always purchase a health insurance plan on her own?
    (In any event most grocery employees are already, to begin with, union members. Then there are further minimum wage and workplace laws. Many grocery stores (as I know from a grocery employee friend) have employee profit-sharing plans. Do these workers really need new people from outside to come march on their “behalf”? Just what are they marching against? The institution of grocery store employment?)

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