Labor pains

Now that the Red Menace of the 2003-04 Southern California Supermarket Strike is over, and we can all go back to buying groceries without being, well, vaguely menaced, it seems an opportune time to reflect on the status of things.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UCFW) says, “After 20 weeks without paychecks, workers won their fight to protect affordable health care, their pensions and job security.”

Safeway says, “During the year we steadily improved overall same-store sales in non-strike affected areas, generated free cash flow of $815 million and reduced debt by $613 million.”

So everything seems back to normal.

This first large labor struggle of the 21st century isn’t exactly like the old days. On October 1, 1910, in the middle of a strike, bombs went off in L.A. The first explosion was at the Los Angeles Times, killing at least 20 people, seriously wounding about the same number, and doing this to the building:


Another bomb went off at the house of the owner of the Times; a third was defused elsewhere. (You can read more about the incident and its aftermath here and here.)

Imagine the uproar today if the equivalent happened, if the Times building in downtown was all but destroyed in an explosion, hundreds of people killed and wounded, because the newspaper was supposedly anti-union. (Or was it a union frame-up/conspiracy?)

I guess the inconvenience of “defying” strikers or going to Stater Brothers wasn’t so bad after all.

One thought on “Labor pains”

  1. Aside from the human loss (that of course doesn’t include Kenneth Turan) I wouldn’t mind watching all the recent awards go up in smoke.

    ****Note: This post is for entertainment purposes only, and the author does not endorse any sort of bombs, unless they are filled with LSD and trained on the White House.

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