The hired picketers stand outside the stores in fair weather holding signs that tell people not to shop the "foreign owned" grocery store, while others call the store anti-union.
These signs appeal to the most ignorant among us who do not think about the Americans who work at these stores which are owned by Salisbury, North Carolina based Delhaize America, a subsidiary of Delhaize Group out of Belgium.
They also do not think of the fact that labor laws prohibit employers from obstructing employees from joining a union and from shutting down or laying employees off due to their joining, or even considering joining, a union.
Essentially, the UFCW is not picketing for the benefit of the employees, but are attempting to coerce the employees into paying tribute to the union, which the employees have no desire to join.
Speaking to some of the employees inside, Saturday, they expressed frustration that the UFCW is working towards their eventual unemployment. They have already caused the closing of at least 126 stores held by Delhaize, and locally Nemenz grocery stores, putting untold employees on the unemployment line.
The AFL-CIO blamed Delhaize for the closings at the same time as the local pickets began in January 2012.
The UFCW has been picketing various non-union stores in the area non-stop since at least 2007, causing many to close.
These store closings not only affect the American employees laid-off from the store, but also the American delivery people, warehouse workers, suppliers, truck drivers, locomotive employees, farmers, bag suppliers and manufacturers, paper suppliers and manufacturers, lumber employees, logging employees, cardboard manufacturers and suppliers, etc. all of whom benefit from a greater number of grocers. Many of these people are union employees, but also lose their jobs due to shrinking demand.
Upon speaking to the picketers themselves, most of whom are woefully uninformed, it is easy to pick apart their rhetoric once the facts are applied.
It is for these reasons that a growing number of people are shopping stores such as Bottom Dollar and Nemenz's stores, tiring of the anti-employee work of the UFCW. The fact that the prices are much more affordable than UFCW stores, such as Giant Eagle, doesn't hurt either.
Until the picketing stops, I for one (and many others I know) refuse to shop at UFCW grocers.
This is also why more people are supporting right to work laws, which makes union membership voluntary rather than compulsory. The unions would then have to prove their value, as does any other commodity, in order to maintain a customer base. This can also lead to competition, rather than a monopoly.
They, of course, are against this.
*Note: In the 3+ years TCCE has been reporting on this, and other local media as well, the leadership of the UFCW refuses to return phone calls requesting comments.