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Grocery unions are not the victims

July 20, 2007

Re "Union blues," Opinion, July 15

Ruth Milkman's fairy tale about the good, innocent workers' union being eaten by the big bad grocery corporations would have been a fanciful read were it not for the real-life hardships that befell hardworking people at the hands of inept union leadership. It should not be shocking that the corporations prepared for a strike. It is appalling that the United Food and Commercial Workers did not. Having failed to unite their locals and strike across the country or obtain Teamster support, a local strike against retailers with a national customer base was doomed from the start.

Until grocery workers elect competent leadership, they will continue to suffer and lose in negotiations.

SCOTT LANDSBAUM

Beverly Hills

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Milkman uses the cliche "David and Goliath" as a way to slam the supermarket chains as the big bad guy and the little worker as a victim. Sorry, I don't buy it. It's the supermarket chains that provide the good union jobs the workers have right now. Contrary to Milkman, management is not at fault for being realistic about the high cost of providing healthcare and the fact that shoppers have several new choices for buying groceries. We do not need to demonize either side in this process, especially the companies that have made it possible for thousands of families to have good jobs in our community.

ROBERT DONIN

Los Angeles

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