The local chapters of the UFCW representing workers for Stop and Shop in New England agreed to a new 3 year contract this month. It came as no surprise to Conservative critics of Obamacare that under it part time workers who don’t meet that Acts definition of full time will be sloughed off into the Federal exchange. The contract preserved health benefits for the 20% of Stop and Shops workers who are full time. So much for solidarity. According to the CBO this is just the start of 7 million people losing their job based coverage because of this abomination.
The UFCW a supporter of Obamacare was one the many organizations to obtain a waiver of its onerous requirements. In its cheerleading for the Affordable Care Act and now it’s abdication; of its avowed purpose of “strengthening working America” to the Federal government it calls into question it’s very existence. Would its workers be worse off without union representation? The answer should be clear already considering only 6 % of the private sector is unionized but If we compare UFCW workers with those of its arch-rival Walmart we see the answer is a resounding no.
In its campaign against Walmart it shows not only hypocrisy but blatant greed. It says Walmart doesn’t pay their workers enough, provide health insurance or allow them the choice to collectively bargain. However workers at Walmart and those “represented” by the UFCW both start off at or near minimum wage and receive yearly raises between 20 to 40 cents an hour. While 25% of Walmart workers are part time 80% of UFCW workers at Stop and Shop are part time according to newstimes.com. In 2012 Walmart gave workers over $500 million in quarterly bonuses while Stop and Shop workers received none. More than half of Walmart workers were enrolled in health insurance, while we have seen how well the UFCW has done in that regard. It is true that Walmart discourages its workers from unionizing but in New England which has no right to work laws, workers don’t have a choice but to join the union when they work for a company such as Stop and Shop. Where is the wailing and gnashing of teeth over that?
The real reason for the UFCWs assault on Walmart has nothing to do with concern of its workers. According to Diane Furchtgott Roth of Real Clear Markets the UFCW sees Walmart as an untapped market of union dues and pension contributions. Her research shows that most of the unions pension plans are funded only around 65% and would benefit immensely from unionizing the richest retailer in the world. It would also enrich the union bosses by bringing another 2 million dues paying members into its fold.
The unions that helped bring Obamacare to America and now happily negotiate its workers into the new Federal plans should face some consequences for their political machinations and continued irrelevance to working people. A federal Right to Work law would enable workers the freedom to choose whether or not they want to pay someone for the right to work where they want, while also taking away a massive source of political contributions to liberal politicians. That would be a win win for America in my opinion.