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UFCW Potential Strike Today, Safeway and Fry's

November 13, 2009 - 3:10am
Nick Coons by Nick Coons


The United Food and Commercial Workers Union is threatening a strike against Safeway and Fry's later today at 6pm if they can't reach an agreement on negotiations. At the forefront of the disagreement is requiring the new hires, not existing employees, pay $5-$15 per paycheck to help offset the rising costs of their health benefits.

Libertarians are very pro free-market, which is often misconstrued as being anti-union. We are anti-coercion, not anti-collective bargaining. If I and 100 of my co-workers want to nominate you to negotiate with our employer on behalf of us because you're good at it and can get a better deal than I can, then there's nothing wrong with that voluntary association. The disapproval of union behavior comes into play when unions collude with government to require union membership, or when unions coerce their members to go along with their practices outside of the employee's best interest.

The latter is the case today, where it is the union that is pushing for the strike, not the employees. Existing Fry's and Safeway employees would greatly benefit by not striking, because striking is the opposite of working, and striking does not pay the bills. The unions are the only ones that stand to gain from this event, trying to mask the idea that the market has outgrown their usefulness. People with jobs, jobs that others are lining up to take if they won't do them, have nothing to gain by suspending their employment and not taking home a paycheck. This makes the actions of the union leadership particularly heinous, especially in these trying economic times.

It's time to expose the obsolete unions for what they are, and allow willing people to continue working so they can keep making ends meet in an environment when even that right is diminishing.

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