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LETTERS

Pay at the Top: It Cuts Both Ways

February 01, 2004

Safeway Inc. execs get millions while grocery workers get the shaft ("Safeway Rewards 11 Top Execs," Jan. 26).

Chief Executive Steven Burd should be ashamed, but I don't think he and his fellow executives have any feelings. After all, they've cashed in their stock and made a bundle. Now the company can fall apart.

Grocery companies and grocery workers have lost too much already, more than they can ever make up. But Burd and his cohorts are raking it right into their pockets, while the employees could possibly lose their pensions, health plans and any hope they have of enjoying a decent life.

I've been a loyal Vons shopper for more than 30 years, but I won't cross the picket line and I will never shop at Vons again.

Ardyce Martin

Banning

*

Sucker that I am for labor causes, I have been supporting the grocery workers strike by avoiding purchasing my food at the affected chains.

Yet, the true depth of my naivete jolted me when I read of the salaries of the UFCW union president ($329,792) and the local chief Rick Icaza ($273,404) ("Grocery Workers' Leader Paid Like a Corporate Boss," Golden State, Jan. 26)

We know from Michael Hiltzik that, in defense, they try to redirect attention to the pay of their corporate opponents.

I am certain that Icaza would offer the familiar canard that the high salary is necessary to attract the talent that such a position requires.

That talent has not been manifest in what seems a bungled and ultimately counter-productive labor action.

Tom Halasz

Mt. Washington

*

Hiltzik is either foolish or outright deceptive to equate the salaries of union executives with the salaries of the executives of the "corporate opponents" of the unions. He speaks of union executive salaries of $273,404, $247,500, and $329,792.

Those are large salaries, but they are chump change to any high executive of any large corporation, such as the ones involved in the current supermarket strike and lockout, Safeway, Kroger Co. and Albertsons Inc.

Ira Spiro

West Los Angeles

*

Unfortunately, everyone has lost on this grocery strike -- the workers, the stores and the shoppers.

Everyone except the union bosses and grocery chain executives, that is.

Will Ray

Burbank

*

Hiltzik would be better advised to shift his criticism to the many overpaid corporate executives rather than the few labor leaders who are making a fraction of those executives' pay while they struggle to maintain decent wages for the worker.

Ted Williams

Brentwood

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