On this episode of Hear in the City, we go to the market and ponder the question of loyalty. We sit down at the kitchen table with a 32 year veteran employee of the largest grocery chain the U.S. at a moment when the United Food and Commercial Workers union has approved a walk out if workers’ demands are not met…and we hear confessions of Will Coley, a Costco cardholder about why he loves the sense of community that comes from being part of an elite club of deal-gatherers who frequent one of the few recession-proof companies.
Ralphs grocery company has been a feature of the Southern California landscape since 1873. It started as a family business, and by 1999, became the largest holding in the massive Kroger chain of supermarkets and food warehouses. In April, the locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union voted to approve a strike if the parent company does not come up with an acceptable benefits and new hire contract. The possibility of a strike has been called remote by both parties, in no small part because bitter memories of the 2003-2004 holiday season remain vivid in the minds of workers, shoppers, and store owners. Hear in the City host Sara Harris sits down at the kitchen table with Manuel Tavison to talk about his memories of how the union and the company handled that long lock-out.
In the second half of the show, independent media producer and Hear in the City contributor Will Coley asks, “If corporations are considered people under the law, what kind of person would Costco be? And moreover, why do I like him or her so much?”