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Union and grocery chains need to strike a compromise

February 03, 2004

Our Newport-Mesa community has many markets affected directly or

indirectly by the grocery strike. The letters to the editors sections

have overflowed for weeks. This strike has generated a tempest in a

corner coffee-pot. However, let's count the blessings:

1. An incentive to go to many different stores and try new

products.

2. An opportunity to meet new people and friendly employees.

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3. Shop calmly and quietly without being crowded or run over by

carts.

4. Increased exercise while walking the aisles trying to find

favorite items.

5. Rapid checkout with no lines.

6. Monetary incentives just to walk into some store during

operating hours.

7. Fabulous bargains. You can purchase many items at a two-for-one

or four-for-one price.

8. Many "non-union" markets are cheaper.

9. A reaffirmation of the old notion that some of the people can

be fooled all of the time -- by union leaders.

10. An opportunity to greet your striking grocery workers at the

non-union stores where they shop.

This is a serious issue to those involved, and I mean no

disrespect. However, when the consequences of a strike are far more

disabling and harmful to the strikers than to the employers or

customers, it is time to call time out, agree on the rules and return

to the playing field.

MICHAEL ARNOLD GLUECK

Newport Beach

Alicia Robinson's story "Pickets weather time on the line" on Jan.

5 provided a thoughtful analysis of the grocery store strike and the

economic pressures on the strikers. Strikers must realize that the

changing economic circumstances argue for them to work with grocery

management rather than against grocery management.

The reason is clear: Grocery stores as we know them today may not

be in existence in 15 years.

Grocery management recognizes that there is a fundamental threat

to their continued operation. They must respond with innovation and

labor cost-cutting. Double-digit health cost increases threaten the

very thin profit margin typically found in the grocery business.

Given margin pressure, grocery stores must respond by reducing

operating costs, one of which is labor.

It is in United Food Commercial Worker's best interest, and

long-term stability, to join with grocery management in adapting to

these market pressures. The very existence of grocery stores as we

know them is at risk. It is absolutely in labor's interest to

cooperate rather than confront management.

JON DECKARD

Corona del Mar

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