Friday, June 29, 2012

OPINION: Declaring Independence from Liberalism: What Wisconsin Means for Labor


By  M Sullivan

Public sector unions across the nation reeled after losing the vote to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In the weeks since, various blogs and articles have been published in an on-going effort to assess what went wrong. The discussion has generated a great deal of intense self-reflection for the labor movement as a whole, but what appears to be missing from the mainstream analysis is the one fact that appears all too clear for most rank and file trade unionists: the game is rigged in favor of the billionaires and the multinationals.
It is crystal clear that the democratic process cannot be expected to function with any level of legitimacy as long as big business remains capable of using its money to purchase disproportionate influence over elected officials. What kind of society are we allowing the corporations to create when their interests take primacy over the voting public and workforce? To answer this question, former President Franklin Roosevelt offered important insight:
“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership by government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling power.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Recommendations to the Congress to Curb Monopolies and the Concentration of Economic Power,” April 29, 1938, in *The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt*, ed. Samual L. Roseman, vol 7, (New York: MacMillan, 1941) pp. 305-315.)
Are we over-stating the case when we liken the corporate take-over of American government to a type of fascism? Based on the definition of fascism provided above, a sober-minded analysis of the facts and forces behind today’s anti-union onslaught hardly leaves any room for dispute. However, there are undoubtedly differences between the fascism we recognize all too well in history books and the fascism of today. Perhaps one of the most important differences between the fascism of the 1920s-40s and its contemporary incarnation is that many of the victims of this draconian and exploitative system have come to develop a sort of sympathy for the oppressor – a sort of generalized, class-based Stockholm syndrome.
For example, in Oklahoma – once home to some of the most radical labor politics in U.S. history – the working poor and displaced middle-class that has suffered so much under the policies of the Neoconservative establishment continues to support the policies dictated by multinational lobbyists. Oklahoma, which once had the largest per capita dues paying membership of the Socialist Party, has been transformed into a sort of corporate plantation where big business has almost exclusive control of state and local government. How did all this come to be?
The answer is simple: according to a Marxist analysis, the owners of the multinationals are also effectively the same entities that control the information industry and media. As Marx famously wrote in his study, *The German Ideology*:
The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it.
From textbooks to televisions shows, private companies controlled by the most wealthy corporate interests in the world are rewriting history and reshaping the consciousness of the American electorate so that the American form of fascism does not require the same wide-spread “blood and iron” repression that typified the German and Italian regimes of Europe. What’s more, the new fascism is – to borrow a phrase – a type of “liberal fascism,” which is not necessarily racially biased. In fact, the Neoliberal fascists recognize the importance of liberal political ideology and use the myths and promise of equality and prosperity for all as a means of fostering a sort of self-repression of working-class Americans of every race and gender. Therefore, when we hear defenders of Clintonite Neoliberalism acclaim the Democratic Party as more “progressive” than the Neocons – they are correct only in the sense that the Neoliberals, with their emphasis on globalization and willingness to subject all the world’s people to the exploitative practices of capitalism without prejudice, are the most advanced capitalist party. This fact begs the question: if the Democratic Party is the most advanced capitalist party, then could we not interpret the working-class resistance to the liberal agenda as a sort of displaced, unconscious criticism of capitalism itself?
For today’s class-conscious working-class militants, we must divest ourselves fully from the nonsensical “lesser of evils” blackmailing that has so thoroughly neutered the labor movement in the U.S. We must call the two-party system out for precisely what it *really* is: a capitalist dictatorship with two tendencies, liberal and conservative. We must then push forward to begin the difficult task of developing a political party that articulates the needs of the working-class, which is the overwhelming majority of the population, and works to achieve its political objectives. The time has come to break definitively from the liberal capitalist party and denounce the cynical opportunists that black-mail trade unionists into making concession after concession until finally the whole of the United States finds itself controlled by a government as draconian as Scott Walker.

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 The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Oklahoma Workers' Monthly, the Communist Party of Oklahoma or the CPUSA.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

HEALTHCARE REFORM LAW UPHELD BY SUPREME COURT


Right Wing News Media shows its bias, falsely declaring it struck down

The Affordable Care Act was upheld, in its entirety, by a 5-4 Supreme Court decision today. The deciding vote belonged to Chief Justice John Roberts, who by all accounts was expected to vote down the Act, but instead, in an unexpected move worthy of Severus Snape, sided with the “liberal” wing of the SCOTUS justices, leading to a flurry of right-wing bloggers howling for his impeachment. The mandate, one of the most hotly contested portions of the Bill, was declared by the court to be constitutional as a tax increase. Even before the verdict was announced however, Fox News and CNN were reporting that the Court had struck down the mandate. Recorded footage can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiXV_1X-PRo


 CNN issued this statement in response to its error:
“In his opinion, Chief Justice Roberts initially said that the individual mandate was not a valid exercise of Congressional power under the Commerce Clause. CNN reported that fact, but then wrongly reported that therefore the court struck down the mandate as unconstitutional. However, that was not the whole of the Court’s ruling. CNN regrets that it didn’t wait to report out the full and complete opinion regarding the mandate. We made a correction within a few minutes and apologize for the error.”
FOX has not commented on the incident.
Interestingly enough, it seems that both FOX and CNN reported the misinformation at the same time and appeared to have the same excuses as they back-pedaled from the gaffe. Their blunders did not go unnoticed – Twitter feeds exploded with comments such as:

 


And this after a profuse apology by CNN reporter Lisa Desjardins:


The sarcasm got so thick in fact, that AP Press Editor David Scott sent a memo to all AP journalists, urging them to stop cracking jokes at CNN and FOX’s expense: 

From: Scott, David T.
    Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2012 9:51 AM
    To: News – Central Editorial Staff
    Subject: Twitter/Health Care
    Importance: High
    
    All, 
    
    Please, immediately, stop taunting on social networks about CNN and others’ SCOTUS ruling    
    mistake and the AP getting it right. 
    That’s not the impression we want to reflect as an organization. Let our reporting take the lead.
     Best,
     David
    —–
    David Scott
    Region Editor/Central U.S.
    The Associated Press

The question is, in this digital age of instant communication, how could a such a Dewey-Truman “mistake” be made? The answer is simple – the networks report what they are TOLD to report, and whoever holds the leash, makes the news.

Usually.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Voter Suppression in Oklahoma against Democrats, Minorities

Yesterday’s primaries featured many twists and surprises as numerous incumbents fought to keep their offices from challengers within their own party – resulting in several key shifts and runoff elections that will stretch into August. Oklahoma Representative incumbent John Sullivan’s re-election bid was upset by Tea Party – backed Jim Bridenstine by a slim 4% margin. Meanwhile, in District 2, there was no clear winner to replace retiring Democratic Representative Dan Boren, which will be decided in the August 28th run-offs, which will likely be followed by a slander suit due to several inflammatory campaign ads run by one of the challengers.


This election season has been fraught with controversy of a different kind however – in a state notorious for discrimination and human rights violations, and with the Republican-controlled state government just having disbanded the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission ( http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=12&articleid=20120611_12_0_OKLAHO819369 ) , something like voter suppression may come as no surprise to many. This is of course not limited to Oklahoma. The Voter ID (known to many as the Voter Suppression) Laws being pushed by Republicans across the country have disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters nationwide. Even more fascistic  attempts to crush opposition, such as Florida Governor Rick Scott’s antics, have gained world-wide attention, and a growing number of people are proposing UN elections observers be brought in to ensure fair elections.( http://democracysquare.org/action/join-call-un-election-observers ).

Despite assurances this last February that the Voter ID law will not affect honest citizens trying to register to vote, reports are flooding in of just the opposite – that the law does, and is being used to target minorities. A statement reposted on Facebook by the NAACP state Political Action Director Ali Canada details the violations -

“I am retired, seventy-seven years old, have enjoyed continuous driving privileges of ‘driver's license’ since age sixteen, white, and therefore have had no previous reason to be familiar with the process of getting a ‘State ID’. I was appalled today by circumstances to have learned how suppressing the process is and wonder if it may be due to political design to make it difficult for less fortunate of our citizens to obtain required identification to vote in this state. It all stated about three weeks ago. A friend who had just moved from another state told me that an employer had promised to hire him for a better-paying job if he had an Oklahoma Driver's License. So, I furnished him a ride to Department of Public Safety to get the license. I recall wondering at the time how difficult and time-consuming it would have been to get to DPS by himself without a vehicle or bus service. Nevertheless, once there and after presenting his official home state identification card, he was told Oklahoma does not recognize his North Carolina ID and that he would need an official Oklahoma Identification Card instead. He was told that to obtain such Oklahoma ID he would need his Social Security card (which had been lost with his wallet). The next destination therefore was to the Social Security office and a long wait get a copy of his card. Instead, that office furnished him an officially stamped letter and told him that it should serve for all purposes until he received his card in the mail in about ten days. So back to the Department of Public Safety with it we went. But once there, DPS would not accept the officially stamped Social Security office letter and my friend was told that he would have to have the actual card instead as well as a certified copy of his birth certificate. I do not hesitate to admit that I was already beginning to become somewhat embarrassed with my home state in witnessing how my black friend was being given the ‘run-around’ treatment. Plus, I had not only already expended quite a lot of my own time but also my own gasoline money during the ridiculous process. But, that was not the least. After spending an additional eighty of my own dollars to fund an expedited request to North Carolina Vital Statistics, receive his certified Birth Certificate by FedEx, and return with it to DPS, my friend was told by DPS that it was still not enough and recommenced the circular process all over again by refusing again to accept the only picture ID he has (his official North Carolina ID), i.e., to obtain an Oklahoma ID one must possess another Picture ID (such as one from another state) which Oklahoma will not accept. If anyone can make sense of this process please let me know. But after having personally experienced being allowed to vote only by Provisional Ballot just last year at the same polling place where I have voted for the previous twenty-two years, I must continue to believe that is designed simply to prevent minorities from voting in the state of Oklahoma. I don’t really want to believe that mine is the same country that I and others have fought and risked our lives for still wants to suppress its citizens. Potential ‘terrorists’; non-existent ‘voter fraud’: subterfuge, not reasons. ‘Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.’ I DO NOT WANT TO BELIEVE IT…PLEASE TELL ME IT ISN’T SO !”  - Vernon L. Jones
Upon my request to send this email to others and some officials of NAACP, Vernon said yes. This is his reply: Yes. You certainly may share the letter to whomever you wish. Unfortunately, my friend is still without an ID. He is at work at this time, and I plan to take him back to DPS in the morning. Will let you know what is the outcome. I certainly believe that NAACP should WANT to become involved with this issue. My friend is surprised and very pleased that people are responding to his difficulty. He is now seeing it as an opportunity to help others who may be facing similar circumstances. He is seeing the power of concerned citizenry for the first time and has expressed that he did not believe such response was possible...in either Oklahoma, or his home state of North Carolina. WHAT A TEACHABLE OPPORTUNITY! Mr. Ali A. Canada Oklahoma NAACP Political Action Chair. 918-852-7430 frankcanada96@yahoo.com
              
A different incident in Oklahoma City yesterday involving a woman attempting to vote, and being turned away from the polls was investigated. Through misleading news reports, she had been under the impression that there were candidates on the ballot for Democrats in her district to vote for. When she showed up at her local precinct, she was turned away and told that they didn’t have a ballot for her, and that because she’s a Democrat, she “should’ve stayed home.” A call to Oklahoma County Election board confirmed that there were no Democrats running in that district, but that the poll worker “could have worded it differently.”

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

VIDEO: "Tulsa Deserves Better" Video Exposes City's Exploitation of Public Employees

Members and supporters of City of Tulsa Employee's union, AFSCME Local 1180, spoke at a city council meeting On June 14, 2012 about the new "Collaboration Budget" which included over a million dollars in tax-payer funds for third party consultants, but did not include collaborating with city employees. As the city employees spoke about having to seek food stamp assistance, Mayor Bartlett got up and walked out. This video was produced and distributed on Facebook over the last several days.
video
 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Supreme Court Upholds Citizens United; Tightens Corporate Stranglehold on Campaign Finance

In 5-4 decision, court strikes down Montana ban on corporate donation law, strengthening Citizens United

- Common Dreams staff
In a 5-4 decision, the US Supreme Court has struck down (pdf) Montana's 100 year old law that banned direct corporate political campaign spending in state and local elections. The court reversed a lower court ruling, but did so without allowing full briefing or argument in the case.
Previously, the Montana Supreme Court upheld the law due to the state’s dramatic history of corruption, but the Supreme Court's ruling today rejected that decision, arguing that “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Critics, however, say all available evidence -- especially in the aftermath of the 2010 Citizens United decision -- suggests such arguments are absurd and say today's decision only strengthens the role of corporate money and independent wealth while weakening the ability of lawmakers and citizens who might try to temper the amount of corporate money that is now flooding into state-level campaigns.
In a dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer -- who was joined by Justice Ruth Ginsburg in a desire that the high court hear the case --  wrote that "Montana's experience, like considerable experience elsewhere since the Court’s decision in Citizens United, casts grave doubts on the Court’s supposition that independent expenditures do not corrupt or appear to do so."

Critics of the ruling were quick to react to the court's decision.
“The Court’s arrogant move – refusing to even grant a hearing on a Montana law that has served the state well for a century – underscores the need for quick action on a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and allow sensible restrictions on political spending,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar.
“Montana’s experience, like considerable experience elsewhere since the Court’s decision in Citizens United, casts grave doubt on the Court’s supposition that independent expenditures do not corrupt or appear to do so.” -- Justice Steven Breyer
“The Court’s majority has once again chosen ideology over common sense and left American voters defenseless against the forced sale of our elections to big corporations and billionaires,” Edgar added.
US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), also weighed in, arguing the ruling offered further evidence that the US has become a 'plutocracy'; blasting the court's announcement today and their original ruling in 2010.
"The U.S. Supreme Court's absurd 5-4 ruling two years ago in Citizens United was a major blow to American democratic traditions," said Sanders. "Sadly, despite all of the evidence that Americans see every day, the court continues to believe that its decision makes sense"
"I intend to work as hard as I can for a constitutional amendment to overturn this disastrous Supreme Court decision," he added. To see Sanders' proposed constitutional amendment, click here.
“The 2012 elections make one thing clear: unlimited spending by super PACs and secretive nonprofits is corrupting our political process and threatens to swamp our democracy,” said Adam Skaggs, senior counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “Increasing numbers of Americans believe our government is bought and paid for by special interests and that their votes don’t matter. By not taking this case, the Court missed a critical opportunity to rein in some of the worst excesses of Citizens United, and other rulings, that created this super PAC mess.”
"Citizens and the nation are not going to accept the Supreme Court-imposed campaign finance system that allows our government to be auctioned off to billionaires, millionaires, corporate funders and other special interests using political money to buy influence and results," Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, told the Los Angeles Times. "A major national campaign finance reform movement will begin immediately after the 2012 elections."
#  #  #

Reprinted from CommonDreams.org:
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/06/25-2

MEMPHIS BUS RIDERS UNION ROLLS INTO SUMMER

 by: James Raines
MEMPHIS - Considering the climate-controlled environments many of us live in, it's easy to forget that summer officially started June 20. As temperatures across the mid-south climb to near 100 degrees, Memphians who rely on public transportation will not be so lucky. Many bus riders report that in an effort to save money, the transfer hub at 50 Poplar does not run its air conditioning. Even more have attempted to alleviate the sweltering heat on an overcrowded bus by opening a window only to find the window screwed closed.
Founded in February, the Memphis Bus Riders Union was created to "raise the level of service and dignity provided by the public transit system as well as ensuring greater accountability and public input over ... policies and practices."
Laura Sullivan says that, "Public transportation is a civil rights issue," and that the old bus routes, "still reflect Jim Crow." With the white flight to the suburbs from inner-city Memphis, many of the bus lines in Memphis were created to transport domestic workers to and from the suburbs. To this day, Memphis Area Transit Authority has yet to change its routes.
Of the available jobs in Memphis, only 26 percent are reachable via public transportation in less than 90 minutes and 80 percent of public transit users have no other form of transportation. Considering that nearly 89 percent of MATA customers are African American and 60 make less than $18,000 a year, MATA is a blatant example of the institutionalized racism that pervades the American South.
Furthermore, since 2009 MATA has raised fares twice, and reduced bus service three times in 2011 alone. Considering that "40 percent of Memphians need access to public transit and nearly 25 percent of Memphis live beneath the poverty line, it is unconscionable," says Paul Garner "to combine fare increases with reduced routes and times."
According to the Brookings Institute, Memphis public transportation system is one of the worst in the nation (69th out of 100).
At its founding meeting, Emmett Miller a retired bus driver expressed the frustration many felt before the founding of the union when all one could do was "ask for change in MATA from the same people who cut, slashed, and decimated the system." Miller suggested that the union "appeal to a much wider populace... that it should [appeal] to every citizen in the metro area."
Inspired by the example of similar organizations in places like Los Angeles, the Memphis Bus Riders Union has high hopes for the future. At a June union meeting, Bennett Foster pointed out that, "Twenty years ago in L.A. they were able to increase the fleet, change the routes and expand the running hours."
One of the main differences however, is that the Memphis Bus Riders Union is a volunteer movement made up of public transit dependent Memphians.
This week, members of the Memphis Bus Riders Union, all dressed in their telltale yellow and black t-shirts attended a MATA meeting chaired by General Manager Will Hudson. Hudson was condescending, dismissive, and rude to the union members present except when they had complaints about how they have been treated by the drivers.
According to, local artist and activist Paul Garner, "MATA is trying to scapegoat the drivers." Garner felt that, "Hudson encouraged complaints about the drivers' and often referred to drivers as "bad apples."
The Memphis Bus Riders aren't falling for it. The "bad apples" General Manager Will Hudson refers to are members of the Amalgamated Transit Union. Hudson would like nothing more than to use one union to break the power of another.
After the meeting, Garner said, he would "like to see driver-rider unity." Drivers and riders standing in solidarity against cuts and managerial abuses could do a lot to take the heat off of the people riding and driving the busses and shine some sunlight on the racist policies that guide the Memphis Area Transit Authority.

Reprinted from People's World:
http://peoplesworld.org/memphis-bus-riders-union-rolls-into-summer/

Friday, June 22, 2012

VIDEO: The Main Street Moment - The Struggle in the Heartland

A Video produced by the Labor Policy Institute of Oklahoma featuring local AFSCME union members was played at the AFSCME International Conference in Los Angeles (June 18-22). It features "a series of interviews with Oklahoma residents, academics and unionized public sector workers, this short documentary presents facts and perspectives on the on-going assault against the public sector and the collective bargaining rights of workers."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

GROUNDBREAKING "SOUTHERN WORKER" NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE

By Charles Millson

The more things change...
 Eighty years ago, the United States faced another economic crisis, the Great Depression. Unemployment was rampant. Corporations used and abused workers in pursuit of profits. The demand for a strong voice that spoke for the worker grew louder in the more industrialized areas of the nation.
In the less industrial south, workers were no less abused. Racist Jim Crow laws further kept black workers, and those who spoke for the have-nots, suppressed. Lynchings happened with a shocking frequency.
The need for a strong voice was met, in part, by the Southern Worker, a newspaper "clandestinely published by the Communist Party in Birmingham and Chattanooga," two of the more industrialized cities in the South at the time.
The Southern Worker was published by Communists from 1930-37 and can now be found online at: http://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/southernworker/index.htm
Dick Reavis and a team of scholars just finished a complete compilation with handy indexes.
The reporting and editorials found in these documents still speak truth to power. The call for the recognition of the fundamental rights of man like equality, fairness, justice-those basic American rights-can be found in the pages of the Southern Worker.
For example, in the first issue, Aug. 16, 1930, there is a news item detailing an American first: when the Communist Party nominated black and white workers to run on the same tickets for U.S. Senate and governor seats in Alabama and Tennessee. During a time when it was illegal for black and white people to travel or sit together, and decades before the major American parties did so.
Ironically, the party those in power often still label as anti-American was the one which first stood for that patriotic virtue of true equality in the nation!
Now, 80 years later, we see the same need, the same demand, for some entity speaking for the rights of working Americans everywhere. The words of those writers and thinkers and doers from the Southern Worker can still move, still motivate, still inspire.

Reprinted from People's World:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Piggly Wiggly: “We’d rather close than be fair!”

By Dominique Paul Noth

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. - In an anti-union hard line reminiscent of Walmart, Piggly Wiggly announced it would close its Sheboygan, Wis., store on Sept. 1, throwing all 108 workers into the street, rather than submit to a federal court ruling that it broke the law by cutting 19 workers from full-time to part-time in violation of its United Food and Commercial Workers contract requiring negotiation of such moves.
PigglyWiggly's defiance echoes that of the world's largest and anti-union retailer, Walmart, in both Quebec and Tyler, Texas. In Jonquiere, Quebec, the retail monster closed its store rather than bargain with UFCW Canada, which had organized it.
And in Texas, when a small group of meatcutters organized, again with UFCW, Walmart closed all of its meatcutting operations nationwide. National and Quebec labor boards had ordered Walmart to bargain with its workers in those two cases.
Piggly Wiggly's anti-union stand is the real meaning of its truncated statement June 12 of the Sheboygan closing, observers say. Local media in Wisconsin largely ignored the dispute, U.S. District Judge Charles Clevert's ruling against Piggly Wiggly in May, and other impending complaints against Piggly Wiggly around Wisconsin.
The Sheboygan complaint by UFCW against Piggly Wiggly was backed in May by a 60-page decision by a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge, and by Clevert's order to Piggly Wiggly to make the workers whole and refrain from further such action. Observers called it a total union victory and a winning first round against Piggly Wiggly's treatment of its unionized workers.
Piggly Wiggly's evasion of good faith bargaining, even though Clevert vindicated his local's stand, distressed UFCW Local President John Eiden: "It's sad it had to come to this, where the employer can't sit down and bargain in good faith with the union."
UFCW lawyer Mark Sweet has complained to Piggly Wiggly about its new avoidance tactics. And Wisconsin media ignored a landmark federal ruling - the first such action in a dozen years affirming collective bargaining, workers' rights to organize, and a chosen union's priority to have its contract heeded.
Piggly Wiggly's sudden action was led by a notorious union busting law firm, Jackson Lewis, which just opened an office in Milwaukee. Piggly Wiggly also deceived UFCW. It first held a mutual meeting June 11, then used the lawyers the next day to "continue its unlawful behavior," in Sweet's words, to send a letter to the state, the union and all 108 Sheboygan store workers announcing its intention to close the store.
The court's next move, after the grocery chain defied Clevert's order to bargain, is unknown. He ordered the Sheboygan store to restore full-time status and health care rights to workers whose hours were cut to part-time without bargaining with their union, and to refrain from such unilateral decisions in the future. Observers say his order could extend to all 102 Piggly Wiggly Midwest stores in Wisconsin and Illinois.
They add they doubt Wiggly Piggly will shut all those stores just to escape future court rulings. But the chain already faces other unfair labor practice charges in Menasha, Racine, and Kenosha, Wis., all brought to the NLRB by the UFCW. An NLRB administrative law judge will hear those cases in Milwaukee, starting July 23. The NLRB office there has accused Piggly Wiggly of bargaining in bad faith at those stores.
Besides ordering Piggly Wiggly to restore full-time status and benefits to the 19 demoted workers, Clevert also ordered the Sheboygan supermarket to immediately offer full reinstatement to four others who resigned when told their hours were being cut.
As Clevert recounted, Piggly Wiggly justified its actions as a response to being told a "non-union" supermarket was opening in the neighborhood. Rather than explore competitive ideas, or talk to UFCW about the best ways forward, or look to promote the quality, depth, and experience of its own workforce, management simply went after the workers to cut costs by telling them they would now work part-time, not full-time.
The firm then posted bulletin board letters defending its behavior and berating the UFCW local for not supporting its efforts or helping workers cope with less pay. Clevert's decision cited such open anti-union hostility. And his ruling emphasized "a strong public interest in the integrity of the collective bargaining process."
Observers add Piggly Wiggly's anti-union hostility underlies its Sheboygan closing announcement. They call the firm's decision a reminder of legal maneuvers many corporations now undertake nationwide to avoid the consequences of their behavior and thwart the operation of labor law. Clevert's May decision against Piggly Wiggly was news in national legal and information circles, but except in Sheboygan, it went unreported in Wisconsin establishment media.
UFCW made constant attempts to publicize Clevert's ruling: It occurred during the war over collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin public workers, making it even bigger than usual. More than Piggly Wiggly is involved, say observers. They cite company corporate rumblings and contract traps involving Machinists, Steelworkers, and other unions in Wisconsin.
Dominique Paul Noth is editor of the Milwaukee Labor Press.

Reprinted from People's World:
http://www.peoplesworld.org/piggly-wiggly-we-d-rather-close-than-be-fair/

Editors Note: There are 2 Piggly Wigglys in Oklahoma - One in Collinsville, OK, and the other in Stilwell, OK. Readers are strongly encouraged to look them up and protest their exploitation of their workers.