The Governator Wants Strike Terminated

Discussion
Feb 03, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, thinks its time that the grocery chains and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) “go back to work and normalize the situation.”

The actor turned politician told KNX-AM he was willing to intervene in the labor situation, if asked. He added, “Right now I’ll let them try to hammer it out, because there are some smart people there that are working on that.”

The president of UFCW Local 770, Rick Icaza, said, “I personally welcome the governor’s offer and am ready to negotiate around the clock so that grocery workers can return to work and shoppers’ lives can return to normal.”

Mr. Scharwzenegger’s offer to assist came just days after the state’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against Safeway, Kroger and Albertson’s accusing the chains of violating antitrust regulation with a deal between the chains to share costs and revenue while the strike continues.

California’s Attorney General, Bill Lockyer, said the deal, “hurt consumers by discouraging competitive pricing.”

Moderator’s Comment: Does the California governor have a practical role to play in the
Southern California labor dispute? Is the lawsuit brought by the Attorney General’s office in California correct in describing the pact between the chains as a discouragement
to competitive pricing?

Arnold Schwarzenegger is proving himself a skillful politician.

First he offers his assistance when he knows he won’t be taken up on it. None of the chains has commented on any possible involvement on the governor’s
part.

Secondly, he plays to his business community constituency by expressing faith that the “smart people” involved are working on getting everyone back to work.

Finally, his administration files an antitrust suit against the chains similar to others that have not been successful elsewhere. This enables the governor
to say he was looking out for California consumers and, when the case fails, the blame can be placed elsewhere.
George
Anderson – Moderator

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