Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

Supporting Safeway is not selfish

If you'd take a moment to read my article, you'd see that I have read plenty about the Safeway strike -- from both sides. Hint: it is not sufficient to stop after reading the UFCW Web site!

Far from being selfish, I want to see Safeway thrive so that less pleasant employers like Wal-Mart don't get a foothold here. Wal-Mart wants to build 40 supercenters (grocery + general merchandise stores) in the Bay Area, and is already moving in on Contra Costa County (ballot measure in March).

Wal-Mart pays $11 per hour less than the unionized supermarket chains. (The $11 number includes wages and the employer's contribution to the cost of benefits.) Wal-Mart can undercut supermarket prices by 20%. The competition is fierce and supermarket chains inevitably lose.

Those who were protesting tonight at the Mission Street Safeway might as well have been filling out Wal-Mart job applications for the people working inside. Killing Safeway kills the jobs of Safeway employees. The employees will inevitably do worse at places like Wal-Mart.

Regarding health insurance, yes I do pay for my own, because I am an independent businessperson. You will see, in my article, some reasons why it's not good to have employers (or unions) buy health insurance. I favor a single-payer system, because my need for health care is not a function of my employment. Patching health plans, which is what UFCW wants Safeway to do, hinders the single-payer movement by making everything look okay. Fact is, you pretty much have to go to work for a large corporation or a government agency if you want health insurance today. That's not a solution.

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