So, Warren, Biden, some rabbis and a guy with an AK-47 walk into a bar....
Oh, sorry, not a bar. A Stop & Shop strike.
For those who don't know, Stop & Shop is a supermarket chain of something like 400 stores in the Northeast. Family-owned since 1892, in the mid-nineties, it became a wholly-owned subsidiary of conglomerate Ahold Delhaize. Ahold Delhaize owns, among other things, supermarkets in eleven countries and made only a measly couple of billion bucks last year.
With Passover beginning this evening and Sunday being Easter, this past week or two likely was a bonanza for all supermarkets in the Northeast, what with matzoh, parsley and honey selling like unleavened hotcakes, right along with chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and Easter ham and lamb. Not to mention stress eating during tax preparation and, in Massachusetts, where Stop & Shop began in 1892, the Boston Marathon on Monday of this week. (Eating lamb to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus because the Bible refers to Jesus as the lamb of God always seemed to me vaguely cannabalistic, but never mind that now.)
But, alas, for Stop & Shop, it was not to share in this religiously-tinged food frenzy. After months of contract negotiations, 31,000 Stop & Shop employees in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, members of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, walked out on Thursday, April 11, their main issues being health care, wages (including some wage cuts) and pensions. Other unions, including the Teamsters, many of whom drive the trucks that deliver foodstuffs to supermarkets, have been honoring the picket lines. (SOLIDARITY IS EVERYTHING TO STRIKERS!) Many (but not all) Stop & Shop stores, however, remained open, with Stop & Shop apologizing for its limited selection.
Not too surprisingly, declared Presidential candidate and Senior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren showed up at a Massachusetts picket line in Somerville, a blue-collar town turning yuppie and winner of the All American City award. Esquire columnist Charles Pierce, cited her visit, noting Biden would go to Massachusetts as well and opined that all Democratic Presidential candidates should do the same.
While he was at it, Pierce lobbed a gratuitous non sequitur at, I assume, Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, claiming Presidential candidates' showing up at Stop & Shop picket line made more sense than doing a town hall on FOX--as though one not only related directly to the other, but also precluded the other. I don't think Pierce mentioned that, until recently, Sanders was about the only politician in the last few decades to join picket lines. (IMO, Pierce's writing skills are undeniable, but, nonetheless, Pierce lost me when, after supporting Sanders initially, he wrote the neoliberal--false-- view of the 2016 Nevada state Democratic convention and went on to endorse Hillary.)
Anyway, next thing you know, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., no doubt eager to change the subject from his creepiness and his two awful attempts to politiciansplain it--as who would not be--also showed up in Massachusetts (Dorchester), at a union rally in support of the Stop & Shop strikers. There, Biden pretended that a former Vice President of the United States who came from a family of politicians and oil men, and entered politics at age 28, is, and always has been, a member of the same class as your average striking Stop & Shop butcher, shelf stocker, cashier or grocery bagger. Like Warren, Biden stressed that the middle class built America. *rolls eyes* (So much for slaves and very poor immigrants, who did the actual building of many American cities, America's railroads, ship yards, etc.)
"Probably it's more benefiting him than us," said Peter Amati, a longtime florist at the Stop & Shop in Milford, Mass. "This is the right place." https://www.npr.org/2019/04/18/714834491/this-is-morally-wrong-biden-tel...
Now, I have always been with unions against management, even when I was management; and, in case of a schism, with labor against unions. Example: https://caucus99percent.com/content/may-1-holy-day-obligation-90-buy-not... However, while it makes some common sense to me for Warren to show up for Massachusetts strikers, and it may make sense for all Presidential candidates to visit those striking national companies, even I don't know if it really make sense for all Presidential candidates to show up at a strike affecting some of the supermarkets in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. However, Esquire's being a national publication and this being the time for all good neoliberalcons to come to the aid of their Party while it pretends to be leftist, the declared Presidential hopefuls and Biden are suddenly very pro-picket line.
And, they all seem to be going to Massachusetts, not Connecticut or Rhode Island.
Mayor Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg (I kid you not), whose home turf is South Bend, Indiana, showed up in Malden, Massachetts, a town similar to Somerville, as did Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota! (BTW, Klobuchar is also doing a FOX town hall, thus proving supporting the strikers and doing a Fox town hall are not mutually exclusive--as if anyone but Pierce needed proof.)
Oddly enough, Sanders, a frequenter of picket lines and the only New Englander other Warren running for President, has not shown up in Massachusetts, although he did express solidarity with the strikers. (Last time around, Sanders did much better in Massachusetts against Clinton than Obama had done, losing to her by only one delegate.) AFAIK, though, none of these people, other than Sanders, ever walked a picket line before the Stop & Shop strike, something else Pierce did not mention.
As for the rabbis, this is great, IMO:
Some New England rabbis are advising their congregations not to cross picket lines to get their Passover essentials at Stop & Shop supermarkets, which have deep roots in the local Jewish community.
One Boston rabbi said it's "not kosher" to purchase "products of oppressed labor" as Jews mark their ancestors' escape from slavery in Egypt.
At the other extreme, AFAIK, the guy who allegedly has an AK-47 didn't actually show up at a picket line, despite the license taken by the title of this essay. Rather, he supposedly called a Stop & Shop store in Wethersfield, Connecticut, asking if its workers were still on strike and then threatening to shoot the picketers with an AK-47. We may simply have shopped elsewhere, but, unlike us wimps, this guy really understands loyalty. /s Faced with the threat, the store closed and the police, of course, broke up the picket line.
And, now, three different songs titled Eat the Rich.
(Isn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?)