First Strike by Muffy Bolding

As you may have heard, here in sunny Southern California (too fucking sunny for my tastes, by the way) there is a grocery workers strike underway -- and goddamnit, am I proud of how my fellow San Diegans are turning out -- or rather, NOT turning out -- in favor of these union workers who are courageously and audaciously standing up to the management of the big three chains down here: Von's, Ralph's, and Albertson's.
 
"The United Food and Commercial Workers Union went on strike after contract negotiations with the three major supermarket chains broke down Saturday night. The supermarket chains have used managers and replacement workers to keep their stores open, often at reduced hours."
 
Here in San Diego, regular citizens, in large droves, are honoring and supporting the union and their strike by taking their cupcake money elsewhere -- myself, of course, staunchly included. Despite having no personal or familial union affiliations whatsoever, I have always found myself fascinated by their cause. Whatever meagre knowledge I may possess of the actual history of the modern union movement can be directly attributed to rapt viewings of both "Reds" and "Norma Rae", as well as those oddly profound television commercials touting the strength of the ILGWU -- the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Even as a small child, I was enthralled by the images of all those working class women in their garment factories -- a blue-collar chorus singing their unifying anthem, which contained the unforgettable line, "So, we work hard, but who's complaining?"
 
Most of these women -- the same women who, it must be remembered, created with their hands the clothing that dressed this nation -- were far from young, and even farther from svelte, glamorous, or even fashionable. But standing there amongst their prep tables, sewing machines, bolts of fabric, and fellow workers -- sweetly yet defiantly belting their union anthem -- I so clearly recognized them for what they were: American Pioneer Women...powerful, substantial, and most of all, beautiful.
 
So, it is that spirit that compells me to honor their kind now by refusing to cross any picketline ANYWHERE. Money talks, baby -- and it is my fervent hope (as well, I am sure, the hopes of all those striking workers out there in the hot sun, their family bank accounts clicking ever downward, even as we speak) that by withholding our money, and hitting these caustic, greedy bastards where it hurts -- right in the gottdamned pocketbook -- that management can literally be starved out of their own food-filled markets and humbly and reasonably forced back to the bargaining table...where they will have learned the harsh lesson that enough pissed-off people -- and their pennies -- CAN affect change.
 
I have, of course, taken the opportunity to use the presence of the strikers as a medium to further educate my children on the power of the people. I explained to them that the reason we would not cross their picket lines is that by honoring them, and taking our money elsewhere, we are supporting workers who are ultimately trying to make things better for ALL workers -- not just themselves and their families. I also spoke of the sacrifice and the courage necessary to undertake such a quest -- to stand up in the face of threats and subjugation...even when to do so could mean your very livelihood. I told them that these people are trying to do something good, and right, and true -- at a time when there isn't nearly enough of that going around. And lastly, i told them these people NEED our support -- and more importantly, they DESERVE it.
 
Imagine, then, how my fierce, radical, motherly pride overflowedeth when my nine year-old son walked up to one of the picketers and proudly and defiantly announced to him, "My family and I will NOT cross your picket line." The guy stopped dead in his tracks, looked into my son's small face, shook his hand, and thanked him...and appeared so moved by the gesture that he looked like he might cry. I, of course, did.