Saturday, May 8, 2010

use your pizza-purchasing-power

Today two of my roommates and I headed to Shaw's on a mission for a frozen pizza. As we approached the Porter Square Shaw's we saw a group of union workers picketing and a detail of Cambridge Police officers keeping a watchful eye. I had heard a little bit about the strike via facebook but none of the details, something about workers on the production end holding out for living wages. We weren't sure how to react at first, we made a lame joke about how it's a good thing I'm not a politician yet because then I wouldn't be able to cross a union line (no intentions of ever being a politician here by the way) even for a pizza. We hesitated in the parking lot and then one of my roommates made an honest decision "I'm hungry" and walked into the store. I followed with my other roommate. Her dad's part of a union and she started tell us about visiting him while he and his co-workers were striking, bringing them coffee in the middle of the night. Now I should be perfectly honest. We had some useful resources on our side here. We had a car with us, we were college students with a free Saturday afternoon ahead of us, and I was willing to bribe my roommates by offering to buy their pizza for them if we went somewhere else. With that on our side we walked out of the store, stopping by the workers quickly to say "We couldn't do it! We're with you guys. We're going somewhere else" Which was met by a round of applause from the determined group standing there in the pouring rain. My Global Social Change class likes to go on tangents about how it's up to us to be informed consumers and show support by spending our money accordingly. I agree, but I think that's a lot easier said than done. Driving to Market Basket and navigating our way through the jam-packed aisles wasn't the best. It was totally worth it and I'm glad we took a small stand via our pizza-purchasing-power, but as a college student with limited resources it would have been so much easier to go for the convenient option. That being said, I feel obligated to share what I can with you about the strike and help these workers garnish support. I did a little research when I got home and I feel that their demands are completely reasonable. All they're asking for is access to decent, affordable health insurance through their employer. In response it looks like Shaw's is going to simply fire those who have been striking and bring in 300 new workers. That's 300 families left without healthcare or a steady source of income. In this economic climate, this seems entirely unjust and uncalled for. United for Justice with Peace posted a great article with more information about the negotiations and Shaw's reaction. I hope you'll take a minute to read it over and at the very least find someplace else to buy your groceries right now.

1 comment:

  1. Today marks 16 weeks since Shaw's workers have been on strike. Yesterday I helped run NOMAS-Boston's Supply Drive for survivors of domestic violence - we were set up in Porter Square shopping center and made the decision to not flyer in front of Shaw's, because we want to support the workers and hope the strike comes to an end soon.