Sometimes I can’t help but wonder how unique I am in finding these sorts of strikes to be odd:
As a strike involving Stop & Shop employees entered its second day, the stakes and scale were huge — thousands of workers over hundreds of stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island in a dispute about pay, benefits and economic security.
But the battle Friday morning was being fought customer by customer: On West River Street, like at other Stop & Shop locations throughout the region, striking United Food and Commercial Workers members gathered to rally support for their efforts and to get them to take their grocery dollars elsewhere. …
“Turn around!” one striking worker yelled as some customers pulled in. Some of the cars would turn around, prompting cheers from the two dozen workers on the sidewalk; others drove in anyway, to little other reaction besides disappointment.
I’ve never quite gotten the messaging intention of this behavior or, frankly, how it fits with healthy relationships. Employees of a store are going outside that store and telling people not to shop there so they can come to an agreement with the managers and go back to work. It’s just… strange.
In what other area of life would we consider it healthy for one party to a relationship to seek to embarrass and harm the other for leverage within that relationship? Would you walk away from your daily obligations to your husband or wife in order to go march around your neighborhood with a sign blaming him or her for not doing enough housework in the hopes that he or she will increase the help so that you can return to a happy state of affairs?
That would seem to be a bullying, even abusive, thing to do, and to the extent that your complaints are justified, many of your neighbors would either suggest that you get out of the relationship or find a more-cooperative way to get your feelings across.
The bullying aspect — that is, the show of power — is amplified by the number of elected officials and politicians weighing in on the strikers’ behalf. Some might also suggest that the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is joining in with the strike:
If striking Stop & Shop employees are causing so much disruption and possible danger to Rhode Islanders who have nothing to do with their dispute, shouldn’t that deserve the attention of law enforcement? I asked RIPTA what, specifically, the authority is being cautious about, and spokeswoman Barbara Polichetti responded that “there is likely to be a lot of pedestrian activity at these locations due to the work action.”
Somehow refusing to drop riders off or pick them up outside of Stop & Shop stores gives the impression of joining the cars that are turning around to the cheers of the strikers.