Labor, The Economy

Wal-Mart has already helped push more than two dozen national supermarket chains into bankruptcy over the past decade. That list includes names like Grand Union; Bruno’s, once Alabama’s largest supermarket chain; and Homeland Stores, formerly Oklahoma’s largest. And unionized supermarket workers fear that Wal-Mart’s invasion will oust them from the middle class by pulling down their wages and benefits, which, taken together, are more than 50 percent higher than those of Wal-Mart workers. At Wal-Mart, the average wage is about $8.50 an hour, compared with $13 at unionized supermarkets.

Which leads Body and Soul to ask a good question:

Why do people who complain so much about their taxes not get mad about the fact that Wal-Mart drives down wages and eliminates health benefits, so that the taxpayers end up paying part of their cost of business?

But the larger story is this:

In the last 20 years, there has been a polarization of jobs into low wage and high wage jobs

Which is what the supermarket strike in California is all about — attempting to hold on to a middle class lifestyle in an increasingly polarized economy. Aren’t we all? No wonder nobody is crossing the picket line!

Also see Calpundit here, and here.