Monday, June 18, 2012

Drop The Pig

Management at the Piggly Wiggly in Sheboygan took a page out of Scott Walker's playbook and refused to negotiate a new contract with its union. As soon as the old contract ended, they started to claim there was their version of a fiscal emergency and started slashing employee hours. This was grieved and won by the unions.

However, despite winning an injunction on an appeal, the company is now threatening to close the store and lay off over a hundred people. The union has asked for the stores financial accounts to show the need. So far, there's been no opening of the books, just a lot of bluster from the company and the store's manager.

The reason that they don't want to open their books is because then they'd have to explain why there isn't a financial need to break the workers' backs except for pure, unmitigated greed:
Earlier this year, company officials said that heightened competition from non-union grocery stores in Sheboygan had placed increased pressure on the south-side Piggly Wiggly. New Pick'n Save and Festival Foods groceries have opened nearby in the past year.

Despite that, David Livingston, a Waukesha-based grocery analyst, said he was shocked by the announcement, as the Piggly Wiggly store had historically been one of the company's top performing locations in the state, though he figures rifts with the union and increased competition may have changed that.

"It's always surprising when you have a nice store, doing historically well, that's suddenly closing," Livingston said. "It's just unfortunate."

The company's announcement to shutter the store follows what's been a long and increasingly bitter fight between the company and the employees' union, which has filed more than 120 unfair labor practice allegations against Piggly Wiggly Midwest.
We know that the manager is trying to bluster his way out of this by two things.

One, he's been running the most successful Piggly Wiggly store in the region. Things don't go belly up that fast, even in Fitzwalkerstan.

Secondly, his stated concern of competition is rubbish since Pick'N'Save is a union shop as well. They have to pay the same wages as Piggly Wiggly. If the Pig's manager says he can't compete on a level playing ground, it shows that he's either lying or or unbelievably incompetent.

I know that Charlie Sykes and other right wing nut jobs have been trying to pin this on the unions, but the fact is that this is nothing more than greed and attempted union busting by the manager. If there was a real issue with being competitive, the manager would open his books to prove his case, as is required by labor laws.  Then he could negotiate for the concessions he is seeking.

We can help our union brothers and sisters out, even if we aren't in Sheboygan.  All we have to do is call the local Piggly Wiggly and tell them that we will stop shopping at their store if they don't call the Sheboygan manager and tell him to sit down and negotiate in good faith.  Then follow through with it.  I'll be calling the Piggly Wiggly store that I go to and doing just that.

26 comments:

  1. Another fine example of ECONOMIC TERRORISM

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  2. The Pig can't compete with Walmart.

    Walmart is anti-union, period, and each store sends their people out to price comp.

    How's that location in Sheboygan for the Pig? I'll bet it's crappy, kind of like that location of the grocery store in Chippewa Falls.

    Walmart put up their buildings in better locations.

    Walmart doesn't own their buildings either, which is why you'll never see an empty Walmart store. (not to mention a better distribution system)


    Let's keep an eye on the Piggly Wiggly in Platteville, WI, too. They have to contend with a new Super Walmart now.

    The Pig is located in a an old, run-down location, while the Wally is out on the new main drag---the highway!

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    1. The Pig in Platteville is not losing business to WalMart so much as losing business all on its own. I used to be a very frequent shopper there, but the heartless way they have treated -- and continue to treat -- long-term, loyal employees has led me to bail on them. I don't shop at WalMart either; it's not economically wise, but if I need something that I can't get anywhere but WalMart, I will do without or drive to Dubuque.

      As for location, I know people who will not drive out to the new location of WalMart even though they used to shop at the old one, both because it's so far out and because it's so big it's hard to find what you want without a map, a compass and durable walking shoes. I always found the Pig location much handier. Till now...

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    2. There are abandoned Wal-Mart buildings all over the country. They are a blight and not healthy for the communities. In Beaver Dam, instead of using an retrofitting an existing building (the nearly vacant mall) they had to build a brand new building. This left the old space empty for several years until it was reused by another retailer. They could have also used the old PicknSave site but no that wasn't good enough for them so now we have that site that has been vacant now for many years. You might want to bone up on what Wal-Mart does to your communities before you pop off on a public board.

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    3. Walmart buildings are not technically owned by Walmart stores, inc.

      It's like the local warehouse operator having his wife listed as "owner" for all intents and purposes, mostly for tax write-off's and zero-community involvement at the end of it all.

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  3. Please don't anybody domthismwith the Pig in Milwaukee. Especially those that serve primarily African Americans. These stores allowed us INSIDE for the recall, registration, and campaigning. I just started going out of my way to give them business.

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    1. Big grocers pulling out of areas in Milwaukee is a major issue, isn't it?

      Didn't it fall under the issue of overall nutrition for the community, as the most local available, and reasonably reachable sources for retail food were essentially C-stores?

      Indeed, you raise a great point, though; some stores have decent management and have not subscribed to the subservient-workers-only mentality.

      (A.K.A. John Menard style.)

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  4. The Unionist has no right to the stores financial records, they are not owners they are employees, they have no financial investment in the company. This is the problem with unions. This is just one more case of how unions destroy jibs and companies. GREED.

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    1. The union has a contract with the store. If the store wants to change the terms of the contract, they have to show cause. The fact that the store is not doing so is the real greed, but you're too full of greed and hate yourself to see that. The sad part is if you had your way, you'd hurt yourself as much as anyone else.

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    2. Liars against unions always avoid the law usually racist & against women's healthcare too

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    3. The owners want a bigger slice of the profit simply for owning the title.

      The consumer and worker is where the bulk of the wealth is. Management helps organize.

      The owner just gets a big cut for owning. Any spoiled rich kid can buy something with their inheritances.

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  5. So WATF if our judicial system rules against the store there miust be a reason. Do you really think an employee has NO financial interest in their company???? or maybe thats how you feel and you think all people are like you?

    I personally care a great deal about the financial interests of my employer. They have treated me very well during my time with them and I have returned that favor. I look upon the company as my company and all of my work decisions are made that way. If something hurts my company it hurts me. BUt i care about my job and my company and am not just in it for as much money as i can get.

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  6. I love my piggly Wiggly and they have went out of their way to remain neutral. They used to allow everyone to put their signs up on their yard since its the highest visibility. Unfortunately(big surprise here) the republicans in town took their generosity and turned it up to an 11 in taking advantage of them and they had to shut it down for all.

    However. thanks to ACT 10 I do not shop at the PIg as much as i used to. I just cant afford it.

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  7. By the way if they are closing a high performing store because they have to pay fair wages to their employees then the person who made that decision is business illiterate and needs to NOT be a business owner...

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  8. Corporate logic: We hire people, so we should be exempt from following the law.

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  9. Maybe the unions should open their own grocery stores like they did health insurance. I picture a big blue fist on the sign. Union label on everything.

    I took a rare stroll through a Walmart yesterday and they have a pretty nice grocery store in there. Prices were noticeably lower than pick and save. Not to mention, I can buy almost anything I need in one stop. Hate them all you want, they do a pretty good job of being competitive, clean and convenient.

    We found a ladies hat in an attic last week, looked to be from the 40's or 50's my friend couldn't make out where it was made on the label, so I took a look. I laughed at him when I saw it, it said union made. Apparently he hadn't seen many of those tags in his lifetime.

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    1. Walmart also pays a lot better than the nearest rival, Target.

      In smaller communities, going to Walmart is actually something to do to chance a run-in with their neighbors and friends in the community.

      Where, perhaps at one time, "downtown" is where most consumers would go, the Walmart model of building on the edge of towns (to avoid "in town" taxation, for one) has become a standard for the developers these days.

      Walmart, as well as Target and Menards, to name a few, have helped to shape the new shift in traffic out of communities.

      With the big box store as the anchor, developers toss up strip malls of all sorts.

      Walmart tried their "made in the U.S.A." thing already, but since virtually nothing is made in the U.S.A. anymore, and Walmart wants individual items cut by pennies, it all ends up to more big companies to search for cheaper labor markets.

      Wisconsin will be a low cost labor market, soon enough.


      As an aside, I didn't like my employment experience where the store manager essentially (not in so many words, but...) wanted all the employees of the store to "lean" on an "unnamed" employee that filed a injury claim.

      The manager wanted the store employees to know that it cut into their stores profit-sharing amount.

      But, what insurance company is going to cover the largest employer in the world?




      Others are opening up stores on their own, too. After the big owners shut their doors, co-ops and other smaller employee owned and operated stores are able to move in as the real leaders in communities step up to get the ball rolling.

      It takes no time for some rich ******* from out of town to step in and set up a similar operation, helping to shut these down, though.

      And the cycle renews....

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  10. You bet it's economic terrorism. When you threaten over 100 jobs and a grocery store outlet for hundreds more because of management greed, that is the definition of economic terrorism. And those people need to be stood up to, exposed and hit in the pocketbook, so they learn not to mess with working-class people.

    And if you're going to claim that you can't compete but refuse to open their books to show that, it tells you that management is LYING, and do not deserve the benefit of the doubt in this issue. The owners in Sheboygan have acted like their mascot- pigs, and need to pay a price for it.

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  11. Before commenters pile on the Pig, remember that most Pigs are franchisees, so YMMV in other locations. The Sheboygan south Pig is a corporate-owned store.

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    1. This is great to know.
      .

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  12. Another store I have to boycott ! Soon there will be now where to shop :(

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  13. I work at a piggly wiggly so please dont boycott it too much!!

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  14. Another Fine example of the UNION THUGS screwing another business up, they don't care about those workers, it's all about lining their pockets with money. I don't like to see anyone lose their job, unless it's a UNION BOSS, but I agree with Piggly Wiggly shut it down if they want to be greedy, It's been proven time and time that the UNIONS are the ones who care nothing about people only the MONEY. So if those people want their jobs it's up to them to tell the UNION to shove it. or lose your jobs your choice???????????????????

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  15. Interesting fact: "progressive" Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski was supported by Paul Butera of Piggly Wiggly Midwest. I wonder if we can expect to see Zielinski decry this very obviously anti-union action.

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    1. More interesting fact: Zielinski also did back away from Butera and helped union workers do an informational rally outside his store. BTW, Butera's store is in Milwaukee, and I believe, privately owned, which is distinctly different than the company owned store in Sheboygan.

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