Coffee is Good for You and Unions Can Win!

Will someone please pour me a cup of medicine!

Not all the news is bad these days. First comes the news that we devoted caffeine hounds have been dreaming of hearing: coffee is good for you. Drinking coffee cuts the risk of heart disease, dementia, cirrhosis, gallstones, stroke, and several types of cancer. On top of this come recent studies that indicate that you can drink up to four cups a day without permanently raising blood pressure, and a newly released report from the American Heart Association indicates that coffee significantly lowers chances of having heart rhythm problems. Get me an espresso. Stat!

On a more serious note, unions representing 36,000 Stop and Shop workers across New England averted a planned strike and settled on a contract favorable to employees. Not only did they get a raise, but they avoided cuts in their pension plans and higher health care premiums. Somehow or other the company just couldn’t make the argument that it needed concessions at a time in which it had increased sales by over ten percent. Hooray for the good guys at Stop and Shop!

Yes, unions can still win. There are lessons in the Stop and Shop negotiations that could become templates for other unions, the biggest being that unions can still be players if the jobs can’t be outsourced, moved, or eliminated. Organized labor needs to forget some old history and study recent sociology. Blue-collar unions are facing a losing battle­—a company can simply pull up stakes and move production elsewhere. Given clever advertising it can even sell its products to the workers it displaced. Labor federations would be wise to shift their focus to work that isn’t going anywhere: supermarkets, schools, fire departments, police…. In the old days industry set the standard for a fair day’s wage; in the future perhaps key service sector employees can do the same.

1 comment:

Healthy Coffee Sultan said...

Thanks for the heads up about coffee being good for you Phoenix and Lars. Much appreciated. Good info on your site.