Executive VP Fred Walter

Fred Walter has been a part of the UFCW Local 1500 staff for over 20-years.  Currently, as Executive Vice President, he serves on the Local 1500 Executive Board and is also a Trustee of the Pension & Welfare Funds. In the past, Mr. Walter has been an integral asset during contract negotiations, bargaining and advancing the membership of Local 1500.  

Recent Posts by Fred Walter:

On Labor Day...This Can't Be Right (Sept. 2013)

Scab Strike Breakers (March 2013)

 

 

 


On Labor Day...This Can't Be Right

September 2013

Can this be right? 4 out of 5 American adults need some kind of government help!  This is just wrong! This great country has no jobs where hard working people can make a living and raise their families on.  I'd like to know why there are no full-time jobs for blue collar workers in our country.  Why there are no manufacturing jobs and no full-time retail jobs.  Everything has been outsourced (including produce) so companies like Walmart can get the goods they sell for close to nothing by using the world's cheapest labor.

But earlier this month Walmart's CEO, Bill Simon, hosts a summit.  In a push to create US manufacturing jobs he organized a two day conference that drew almost 1,500 government officials and business leaders to discuss the importance of increasing manufacturing jobs in the U.S..  This is great, right?! Well, Republican governors at the event said that survival of the US manufacturing industry hinged on keeping labor costs low.  They also suggested speeding up the permitting process and offering special tax breaks and incentives as ways of encouraging companies to relocate to the US.

It's the same old story: Help the companies and *** the workers .  There was a time when manufacturing jobs were full-time union jobs.  Workers were paid a fair wage with benefits.

Bill Simon said at his event in Orlando, Florida, "We can't become solely a service economy.  We need to make things in America." Really?!?  Is Walmart the company that built factories in China and other third world countries to find the cheapest labor? I believe so!  This will be great, companies will be opening factories paying minimum wage and no benefits...This will definitely make things right for workers in our country. 

What's happened?  We import steel from China when we need a bridge built. Why? There was a time when the world purchased steel from the US, made in a city called Pittsburgh.  There was a time when this country worked! Everything was made here.  Detroit built cars and sold them here.  Factories all across this country made everything: clothes, suits, tvs, appliances and furniture.  Blue collar union jobs made the middle class.  Those jobs could support a family.

Economic justice. What is economic justice?  What are the goals of a good economic system? What is the reality of wealth, poverty and class distinction in this country?  How does 98% of the world's wealth belong to 2% of the population?  98% of the population gets to have 2% of the world's wealth.  Sound fair? No.  

No matter what your job is, how do you evaluate working hard?  Does the CEO of a company, doctor, lawyer, congressman, senator news anchor, sports athlete, work hard?  Yes.  Are they paid well? Yes.  Not everyone is qualified for the above jobs, but men and women who have blue collar, retail and service jobs work hard every day as well.  Do they deserve fair pay?  Yes.

During the Regan administration the rich became richer and the poor became poorer.  During the Bush administration there were tax breaks for the rich.  There were two wars not paid for and not necessary. Weapons of mass destruction were never found.  Bush's friends got rich, Chenney's friends got richer.  Questions loomed if Bush was really elected, and the electoral process in Florida was heavily scrutinized.  I asked after the election if our government really worked.  The majority of voters elected a president based on what he promised, stands for and the change he wants to make to improve our nation.  

Congress, the Senate and the White House fail the majority who elected the president because of party politics.  It doesn't matter what's good for the country or the majority, political parties cannot agree and cannot progress our nation.  The only thing that seems to matter is what's good for lobbyists and what cost you're willing to pay.  This week in our nation's capital, DC, this theory was sadly once again proved true.  The Mayor of DC (Grey, Democrat) vetoed legislation that would require large, wealthy employers to pay their employees a minimum wage of $12.00 an hour.  Subsequently raising full-time employee salaries from $17,000 to $26,000 at stores like Walmart.  

Politics divide our country.  Once we stop voting and acting on political party lines, and start acting for the benefit of the majority of our struggling country, then, maybe we'll have real progress.



Scab: Strike Breakers

March 2013
By Fred Walter, Executive Vice President

Strike Breakers are used more frequently in the United States than any other industrialized country in the world.  Why?  Before 1981 no major United US industry had hired permanent replacement workers during a labor dispute or strike even though the law allowed them to do so.  A change came on August 3, 1981 when President Ronald Regan declared the PATCO Air Traffic Controllers strike illegal and all the striking workers to be fired and permanently replaced. 

Reagan’s decision was a huge blow to unions and signaled a shift in the use of strikes, dismantling one a Union’s strongest strategies in a labor dispute.  Strikes and work stoppages averaged 300 annually prior to 1981. After Regan’s decision, 52 a year was the average, by 2006 less than 30 a year. 

Strike Breakers are usually individuals who are not employed by the company prior to a union dispute but rather hired after or during a strike.  But that’s changed now.  Company’s like AHOLD (Stop & Shop) in New England, Connecticut, Rhode Island & Massachusetts, are recruiting scabs at 14 locations across the region to replace five UFCW Locals, 40,000 members if they strike.

A scab is a low or despicable person.  Labor sense of the word rates back as far as 1777.  The word Scab became a household word after the unionizing drives of 1930’s.  Author Jack London, born 1876, penned the most famous description of scabs in US Labor History:

“After God finished the rattlesnake, the toad and vampire, he had some awful stuff left with which he made a scab.  A scab is a two-legged animal with corkscrew soul a water logged brain a combination backbone of jelly & glue where others have hearts he carries a tumor of rotten principles. 

When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out.  No man (or woman) has the right to scab so long as there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in or a rope long enough to hang his body with. 

Judas was a gentleman compared with a scab.  For betraying his master he had character enough to hang himself.  A scab has not.  Esau has sold his birthright for a mess of pottace.  Judas sold his savior for thirty pieces of silver.  Benedict Arnold sold his country for promise of a commission in the British Army. 

The scab sells his birthright, country, his wife, his children and his fellowmen for an unfulfilled promise from his employer.  Esau was a traitor to himself, Judas was a traitor to his God, Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country.  A scab is a traitor to his God, his country, his family and class.”

- Jack London. 

No scabs, Stop & Shop!