Ph.D. Octopus

Politics, media, music, capitalism, scholarship, and ephemera since 2010

Today in Indie Rock Songs about New England Grocery Store Chains with Labor Disputes

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By Wiz

As part of my riveting interest in Southern New England based grocery chains, I have already reported on the Stop and Shop workers who secured for themselves a damn fine contract a bit ago, and what the Sex Pistols had to do with it.

Well, unfortunately, despite that good news, all is not well in the world of New England’s mid-sized supermarket chains. Shaw’s—which, to be fair is more of a mid and Northern New England presence, we don’t have a ton in Connecticut—is attempting to bust the union at their distribution center.

First they demanded egregious benefit cuts, provoking a strike. Then they laid off a bunch of retail workers, offering them their jobs back only if they would scab at the distribution center. The new CEO of Supervalu, which owns Shaw’s, is this lovely fellow– Craig Herkert—former president of Wal-Mart’s North America operations. Basically the board has promised Herkert a hefty $2.5 million bonus for bringing the Wal-Mart model of labor relations to New England groceries. The workers are still on strike.

Interestingly, Jobs for Justice claims that ” Shaw’s, like other grocery stores, has been successful thanks in no small part to the recession which has driven people to eat at home and buy generics.” So the company probably figures it can push their workers around since the recession makes them more vulnerable, at the exact same time it makes the company more profitable. Capital and Labor truly have a harmony of interest!

I’m especially hostile to Shaw’s because I lived near a big store of theirs in Porter Square. Their deli cheese sucked, the produce was over-priced, and they had very limited selection of fake meat sausages. AND, it turns out, they were grossly exploiting workers in a crass maneuver of masterclass hubris. Motherfuckers.

The moral of all of this, of course, is that next time you are buying beer to pre-game the Sox game, or need some snacks before going to Misquamicut, go to Stop and Shop, not Shaw’s.

Now, last time, I pointed out that the Sex Pistols once covered a song about Stop and Shop. Alas, I don’t know of any good songs about Shaw’s.

So instead I present you with another song about Stop and Shop. Well that’s a bit over stating it, but in The War Criminal Rises and Speaks, Okkervil River’s Will Sheff sings about driving past “subway, pass Stop and Shop, pass Beal’s.”

Okkervil River, by the way, are fucking brilliant and this song is amazing.
And now I’ve written two posts about grocery stores, labor relations, and Indie Rock.


Written by Peter Wirzbicki

April 22, 2010 at 22:15

Posted in labor, music

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