Green Party of California


For immediate release: November 24, 2003

Beth Moore Haines, GPCA Spokesperson, 530-277-0610,
Ross Mirkarimi, GPCA Spokesperson, 415-412-7526,
John Strawn, GPCA Spokesperson, 805-689-2840,
Sara Amir, GPCA Spokesperson, 323-654-2058,

SACRAMENTO - In a show of labor solidarity, the Green Party of California (GPCA) has pledged its support for the striking United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in their action against Vons, Albertson's and Ralph's supermarkets.

UFCW union members voted overwhelmingly to authorize the strike against the three large chains to address employers' dwindling support for workers' health benefits, and to protest free trade agreements which strongly influence the food industry's treatment of workers.

"We should all want the workers who handle our food to have adequate health benefits," said Santa Monica Mayor pro tem Kevin McKeown. "Again we see the need for the universal single payer health plan championed by Santa Monica's State Senator Sheila Kuehl."

Employers' profits have gone up 91 percent since 1998, according to the union, rising 10 times faster than their hourly contribution to worker health care. Yet owners, touched by competition from entities such as Wal-Mart, are tempted by the giant's non-union no-benefit policy to resist workers' demand for an affordable health plan.

"Competition from non-union Wal-Marts and Costcos is putting the union markets in a profit squeeze," said McKeown. "By zoning against big boxes, local communities can support their local workers and their local markets."

Greens across California are honoring the picket lines and, in some cases, joining strikers on the front lines. Tom Hutchings, a candidate for 33rd Assembly District (San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties) has been a regular on the picket lines in that area. Hutchings' consistent pro-labor stand earned him the endorsement of the AFL-CIO's trade labor unions in San Luis Obispo County.

The GPCA platform states: employees in the U.S. and around the world have the right to organize and operate a democratic, member-run union to assure their rights in the workplace. Greens are encouraged to respect the union picket lines, and shop elsewhere.

The Green Party of California
P.O. Box 2828, Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437