Let me start out by saying that I am a unionist through and through- the teachers union saved my job my first year of teaching when a student plagiarized a paper, his parents threatened to sue me, and the principal asked for my resignation because I refused to back down. Because of this incident, I have been faithful to the union ever since- attending rallies, conferences, negotiations, mediations, etc. I love unions- I LOVE what they have done for our country. I love 40-hour workweeks and weekends and paid vacations- all of which came about thanks to unions. Which is why it is so strange that I am so conflicted at this time.
I do not know if it is nationwide- and I apologize if it is not and you don't know what I am talking about- but our grocery union (Kroger foods) is considering going on strike because they are being asked to take cuts in benefits and pay. I am not sure of all the details. I am conflicted because never in a million years would I think to cross a picket line- but in this instance, I am at odds in my feelings towards this strike. I have two opposing thoughts:
1. We are in a recession. Many people are being asked to make cuts in their benefits and pay, and most people are grateful just to have a job. It is hard for me to sympathize with them.
2. Grocery stores are typically recession-proof. People still have to eat, and often they are eating out less and therefore buying more from stores, not less. Part of me wonders if the CEO and managers are using the recession as an excuse to make cuts, even though they don't need to- a way to force the "all powerful evil union" to give up some of their power, even though they might be making great profits (I do not know if they are or not, but I could see them using the economy as an excuse).
Of course, a more practical problem is this: I still need to buy groceries! Where will I buy them if not from a grocery store? I am ADAMENTLY opposed to shopping at Wal-Mart because of their huge anti-union stance, and I will absolutely NOT shop there, and that leaves me with very few options.
So here's the question: Cross the picket lines, or support the union?