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.

https://www.wbur.org/bostonomix/2019/04/19/stop-shop-strike-rabbis-passo...

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?)

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Comments

Thanks for your support. Although we appreciate the political figures showing up, change, as always, starts from the bottom up. Solidarity.

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@brae-70

Please post a link if you have it.

ETA: It's the union's Stop & Shop Strike Fund. I'll try to find a link and include it in the OP.

https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/5k_to_stop_...

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QMS's picture

As we fondly refer to the conglomerate hereabouts. It's like Market Basket ( not sure if regional ). Put's all the little markets out of business. Which is damn inconvenient. Especially when big owner daddy goes belly up. The chain is broken.

Organize local co-ops. May come time we need it.

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Listen to your higher mind.

@QMS

Market Basket has lower prices than Stop & Shop.

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QMS's picture

@HenryAWallace
Understand that concept of the big box consumerism. Unions are good for the workers, choice is also good for some of us. Our few little New England markets are holding their own against the biggies, mostly because they are local and support the community. It's a bit more, but knowing the butcher, wine stocker, seeing local veggies and dairy products is worth the few extra dimes to us. In this small town.

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Listen to your higher mind.

@QMS

a difference.

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lotlizard's picture

@QMS  
or baker will pick out the best produce or cut up your meat or slice your loaf of bread for you, which a supermarket — limited to stocking shelves and cold bins with prepackaged items, whose labels you can’t read — won’t.

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janis b's picture

Too bad Sanders can't be everywhere at once ; ).

Now, on to the music. Thanks HAW.

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janis b's picture

@janis b

that eating the rich can be quite a frenetic activity. Liked the aerosmith version best.

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@janis b

writes, he is a propagandist for establishment Democrats who feints left.

I've been looking for a link to the official union strike fund, but I cannot find one. There is at least one gofundme, but I don't know if I trust it. The teachers union made their check out to the Food and Commercial Workers' Union, not gofundme.

As far as the music, the arrangement of the Aerosmith version is more polished, as one might expect from Aerosmith, but there is something to be said, I think, for the more raw versions. Then again, I'm no music critic.

As far as lyrics, though, I think I like the lyrics Krokus version more. Aerosmith's version seems to be giving what for to an heiress who made a disparaging remark about the hoi polloi. The Krokus version seems like a less studied cri de coeur.

Until this evening, I didn't even know the Krokus or Motörhead versions existed.

But, for me, the best song is the union song. Always. Any union song. (-:

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janis b's picture

@HenryAWallace

to comment on labour issues.

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@janis b

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janis b's picture

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snoopydawg's picture

I read about this strike earlier today, but the article was more droll than this lively one. The company has been making yuuge profits, but wants to stick it to its employees. Maybe I'd enough of the locals support those who have gone out on strike we can slowly turn things around for all workers.

Kinda strange though that everyone is going to the same state. Bernie had already made plans for a rally and of course he shouldn't be expected to up and leave it.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

janis b's picture

@snoopydawg

he would then be accused of grandstanding.

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@snoopydawg

one rally is the entire reason that he did not show up. Maybe he's respecting Warren's turf?
Though he could go to Rhode Island or Connecticut I guess/

I'm not faulting him for not being there. As my essay indicates, I think it's odd and, candidly, phony, that the others went to Massachusetts, although I'm glad they are bringing publicity to the strike. And I think that Pierce is a "blue no matter who" who feints left, like Hartmann, Cenk and others. Although they were once among my heroes and Hartmann even discussed two of my 2015-16 pro-Sanders posts (on another board) on his show, I have no use for any of them anymore.

Establishment Democrats and their media shills? Not my circus, not my monkeys.

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