Striker Brygade

Grocery Strikers Almost Get Knocked Out

Michael Williams has a run-in with some California grocery workers who are out on strike. Again? Still? Who knows?

I’ve been to California about a half-dozen times over the past fifteen years and I think that there’s always at least one chain with people on strike.

Mr. Williams noticed a shirt on the picket line:

10/11/03
Never forget

Apparently that’s when the strike started.

Now, I have no reason to believe that Mr. Williams is lying. In fact, he seems to be one of the straightest shooters in this ol’ blogosphere.

But can this possibly be true? Can someone really have made a shirt like that? And can someone really have worn it out in public?

Shame on them and anyone else within a five meter radius.

Williams says he’s going to try to get pictures.

I hope he misread the shirt. I’m not expecting that he did.

UPDATE: Xrlq at damnum absque injuria encountered a similar shirt and writes

Think about that for a minute: one of the largest unions in teh country actually mulled this idea over, debated it, and ultimately concluded that it was a good idea.

Hmmmm. It sounds like he’s saying that they’re basically idiots. Can’t say that I disagree.

Comments

  1. I’m not sure I understand. No one can not forget anything other than 9/11, specifically the one in 2001?

  2. People are certainly allowed to remember anything they want in any manner that they wish. They just don’t have to be taken seriously about it. You want to act like an idiot? Better be prepared to get called an idiot. Since the neither my post nor the comments section mentions either ‘9/11’ or ‘2001’, I’m taking it that you made the connection on your own without assistance. Since you, who claim not to understand, obviously understand very clearly, I’m sure that most other folks also understand. Free speech allows the strikers to say whatever they want, even to the point of oh-so-cleverly borrowing a turn of phrase that everyone else associates with a terrible day, and using it to further their personal cause. Although not very knowledgeable about the details, the continuous grocery-worker strikes in California seem to be a shameful application of organized labor tactics. I’m insulted by (what I consider) their gall to compare their ‘plight’ to what most people, even the Left and the Democrats and the Liberals, consider a very grave occasion for the entire nation. Free speech allows me to call them idiots. I’m doing so. Free speech allows me to question the sense of people who pooh-pooh those insulted by such brazen displays of bad taste. I’m doing so.

  3. The problem I have with this sort of short-cut notation for 9/11 (why not September 11? Doesn’t the abbreviation cheapen it? We can’t take the time to say September? Does this include the Pentagon attack or just the World trade Center? What about the people who crashed in Pennsylvania?) is that is doesn’t really say anything in particular. Is it that the US was attacked? That people died? That innocent people died? What? To assume that the meaning of the events of that day are unambiguous and shared by all is unfair and condescending. Is the meaning the same for someone who was there and someone was not? For someone whose loved one survived and someone whose loved on didn’t? Has anybod ever said to you, ‘I know exactly how you feel’ after a difficult event for you? Did you feel that they really did? A little Google research on never forget nets these: An Anniversary That We Must Never Forget regarding the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco ‘What a career, what a week; a time I will never forget.’ in a remebrance of a fellow cricket player who died. ‘A Scream We Will Never Forget’ from a story about infant circumcision pain. Marine’s Grieving Family Will Never Forget from a story of a Marine killed in training. ‘The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.’ from the Gettysburg Address by Lincoln Never Forget: Eli Rosenbaum ’80 is driven to bring Nazis to justice before it’s too late Never Forget In all its grimness, Washington’s controversial Holocaust museum is a necessary, civilizing memorial from Time Magazine in 1993 And September 11th was infamous for people in Chile back in 1973: ‘…an estimated 3,200 killings of political opponents during Pinochet’s dictatorship.’ 11 September, 1973 – The Day Democracy Died in Chile Chile: The Other September 11 It seems a bit presumptuous that 9/11 should only mean ‘our’ 9/11 and that the idea of not forgetting belongs to our experience of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Now, is it perhaps a poor choice to use that phrase on those shirts knowing that it would remind many of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and seem insensitive? Absolutely.

  4. Two remarks about your comment: 1) You obviously knew exactly WHICH ‘Never Forget’ was meant despite the fact that the shirt, the post, and the comments all didn’t say anything at all about any 9/11 at all or even name any year. You can argue all you want about whether ‘9/11’ or ‘September 11’ or the standoff in Waco or Chile or circumcised babies should be what people think of. The fact is that nearly everyone thinks of the attacks against the US on 9/11/01. It’s an accepted shorthand, and not only in the US, for that day and those events. You can try to multi-lateral multi-culture multi-facet it all you want. ‘9/11/01 Never Forget’ means what it means today. I know someone who says that blogs aren’t ‘blogs.’ It doesn’t matter, really, because ‘blog’ has come to mean what it means today. Words and phrases change their meanings over time. It so happens that ‘9/11/01 Never Forget’ means the attacks of 9/11/01 at this point in the story. If you don’t think so you haven’t been paying attention. That’s your prerogative. Just don’t waste my time with it. 1.5) Unless maybe you’re suggesting that the makers of the shirt didn’t realize that they were copying the 9/11 shorthand? Give me a break. 2) You wrote ‘Now, is it perhaps a poor choice to use that phrase on those shirts knowing that it would remind many of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and seem insensitive? Absolutely.’ How can something be ‘absolutely’ insensitive AND worthy of this debate? My guess is that if the reference was absolutely insulting to black people or absolutely insulting to women or absolutely insulting to poor people I wouldn’t be hearing this. I’m betting that a lot of people who think the shirt is funny/clever wouldn’t even dream of doing something like that. Wanna be cool and coyly poke fun at 9/11 with a stupid shirt? Fine. If you wear it I’ll think you are a stupid idiot and I’ll call ’em as I see ’em. Your final paragraph exactly sums up what I posted about. The shirt is absolutely insensitive. I believe it’s a disgrace to the people who care about what happened on that day, but I don’t really imagine that the people wearing it have personal animosity against us. I could be wrong, though. Before this weekend, I wouldn’t have believed that anyone would stoop so low as to wear a shirt like that.

  5. I’m not sure I even understand what you’re saying. ‘The problem I have with this sort of short-cut notation for 9/11 (why not September 11? Doesn’t the abbreviation cheapen it? We can’t take the time to say September? Does this include the Pentagon attack or just the World trade Center? What about the people who crashed in Pennsylvania?) is that is doesn’t really say anything in particular. Is it that the US was attacked? That people died? That innocent people died? What?’ OK, so that’s the problem you have with the ‘short-cut notation’. I’m curious why you would think that it wouldn’t include the people who died in two of the four attacks. (The Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.) Is there a written and verbal notation you would like added to ‘September 11th’ to guarantee that it includes those people? Should we add something else to make sure that we’re remembering the stewards and stewardesses on the flights? Because I sure as hell don’t see anything in ‘September 11th’ that tells me it includes the workers on those flights. Don’t EVEN get me started on why we haven’t amended ‘September 11th’ to specifically include the firefighters and police officers killed. I’m also curious why you want to leave the year off the date. Are we somehow too lazy to bother to say the year of the event? It’s a bit presumptuous to claim that ‘September 11th’ has to mean ‘September 11th, 2001’. Without saying the year, aren’t we cheapening it? It sounds like you’re just arguing for argument’s sake, because you just don’t like what was originally written. ‘To assume that the meaning of the events of that day are unambiguous and shared by all is unfair and condescending.’ Who assumed this? Never have I *EVER* heard this claimed explicitly or even assumed implicitly. ‘Is the meaning the same for someone who was there and someone was not? For someone whose loved one survived and someone whose loved on didn’t? Has anybod ever said to you, ‘I know exactly how you feel’ after a difficult event for you? Did you feel that they really did?’ Please connect this to the discussion of whether or not it was in poor taste to use a connection to the events of ‘September 11th, that day that four planes were crashed into different places, and people both on the planes and on the ground were killed. Oh, yeah, it was in 2001.’ on a t-shirt for a grocery strike. ‘A little Google research on never forget nets these:’ The discussion was about putting those words together with a date, specifically one that was a single digit off of what everyone (even you) knew was the reference being made on the shirt. I did your search based on the discussion at hand, ‘never forget’ ‘/11’, which is the phrase and the part of the date that they are drawing from. The entire first page was 100% ‘September 11th, that day that four planes were crashed into different places, and people both on the planes and on the ground were killed. Oh, yeah, it was in 2001.’-related. I checked the next pages; they looked like a pretty solid hit. So, since you seem to think Google was a good way of testing whether or not what was on the t-shirt should evoke ‘September 11th, that day that four planes were crashed into different places, and people both on the planes and on the ground were killed. Oh, yeah, it was in 2001.’, there’s your answer. Yes, it does. And you knew it, anyway. Why did I take the time to write so much on a post that I don’t feel deserved it? Because when I read it, I got the same feeling I got last 9/11, reading about people complaining that we should all just ‘get over it’ and stop making such a big deal about it. And today I didn’t feel like ignoring that.

  6. I think the problem is with the idea that everyone should have the same ffelings about evrything or else they are wrong, and idiot, misguided, should be beat up, etc. Statements seem to be made suggesting – no- statting as fact that people with different ideas are wrong, even if we don’t really know what they are saying. Where does that get us? Is this about having a platform to say thing to the blogosphere just to say them or is this more of a forum? If it is just a we-based PA system, then I’ll not post anything. But if it intended to provide a forum, some listening will need to be a part of the equation. Why did I make the connection between the T-shirt and the attacks on the US at various sites on 9/11/2001? because I read MO regularly and understood what the connection was. What I asked was if that was the only thing we are now allowed to never forget. Any of the inferences made about how I feel about the T-shirt, California grocery workers, the attacks on the US on 9/11/2001, whether I think we should ‘just get over it’, whether I only include people who died in two of the four attacks, whether I think (or the makers of the T-shirts) thought that there was something to the shirts being one number off of 9/11 are all – inferences. I may have presented my questions/points poorly. But it doesn’t seem that there is too much room for different ideas. Anybody here know how much those grocery workers make? What there dispute is about? The names of all the people who died on the plane tahat crashed in Pennsylvania on 9/11/2001? The names of the people who disappeared in Chile? Whether any native Americans find the Cleveland Indians team name and mascot deeply offensive? How many black men still feel afraid when they are stopped by a policeman? Should we tell people what they should feel? How they should experience their own life? Whether their opinions/feelings/experiences are valid? Based on something as omniscient as our own opinions/feelings/understanding? How about, ‘At first look I find the T-shirts to be disrespectful of the memory of those who died on 9/11/2001. I wonder if they really thought about what they were doing before they did it? I wonder if all of the strikers think that shirt was a good idea or this is one of a few yahoos in the group?’ Or maybe they are all just jackass pansies that should go to another country if they don’t like it here.

  7. This is absolutely a forum. There is absolutely listening happening. Even though a little heavy-handed, it seems to me that point-by-point replies (by both sides of this debate) indicate that the other position is acknowledged and considered. At least more so than would probably occur in a live oral debate. In a sense, this is a We(or really a ‘Me’)-based PA system. After all, ‘Everyone is entitled to my opinion.’ Readers can take it or leave it. BUT comments are allowed and never (with the exception of spam and one instance of possibly-classified information) deleted or altered in any way. I generally reply to comments, especially since this is a tiny little site and I have a strong interest in every reader. Part of the value of a forum, though, is the exchange of ideas. One of my personal ideas is that people who would print and wear a t-shirt like that are idiots. As a regular reader, based on the number of comments you’ve made, you may notice that I don’t often call people names. I don’t have any idea how much the grocery workers make or exactly why they’re striking. It isn’t relevant to my opinion that someone who wears a shirt like that is an idiot. $5, $15, $50 per hour. Doesn’t matter. The person wearing the shirt is an idiot. I don’t know if it is the union or the individual who thinks the shirt is a good idea. I said so earlier. It isn’t relevant to my opinion that someone who wears a shirt like that is an idiot. Union boss, local store rep, or individual whack-o. Doesn’t matter. The person wearing the shirt is an idiot. I don’t know the names of all the people who died in the 9/11 attack, and I don’t know the names of ANY of the people who EVER died in Chile. It isn’t relevant to my opinion that someone who wears a shirt like that is an idiot. Cleveland still has a major league baseball team? Wow. But not relevant. No one suggested that everyone should have the same feelings about 9/11 (or whatever the shirt references). KTLA, in fact, stated this point clearly in his comment. To claim that we should all step back and have a nice little constructive chat about something that seems (to me at least) so obviously stupid lends credibility to an incredible situation. I’ve got no beef with anyone questioning my judgment, especially if they’ve got the nerve and wherewithal to put their thoughts into writing on my site. But I’ll answer in the way that I feel is appropriate. Is the problem that I think they’re idiots? I’ll agree that a) I might be wrong about that, b) they’re probably not idiots about everything, and c) I myself have often been an idiot, sometimes live on this site but usually in more important settings and about things that really matter. But if I can’t call someone who I think is an idiot an idiot, no one can call anyone an idiot. Are there truly no idiots? My experiences suggest otherwise. It is often helpful to point them out. True, if I called everyone an idiot that I felt may be an idiot, and that my standards of idiocy were such that I thought a lot of people were idiots, no one would take me seriously. (Putting it that way implies that people DO take me seriously, but you know what I mean.) A quick search of my site reveals that I’ve used the word ‘idiot’ in 15 posts, out of 966 posts written since March. (Holy shit! I’ve got to get a life…) Two of them are about this t-shirt issue, one was actually a quote of a commenter calling ME an idiot, one was sarcastic note about ‘rich clueless idiots’ in Congress that couldn’t find a dime because they didn’t ever carry anything so insignificant, one was about the NYT when it published the obit for a woman a little prematurely, one was noting the category name on a different blog, one was a quote from a story in the Onion, one was about the acting ability of the guy who blew that foul ball catch in the World Series, one claimed that Bruce Springsteen was NO idiot despite the fact that he was calling for Bush’s impeachment, one was about the ALF folks who let the 10,000 minks out that then all ate each other, one was saying that Maureen Dowd was calling Bush an idiot, one was an off-the-cuff remark about spinmaster’s portrayal of Bush, one was about Madonna, one was a sarcastic comment about the planners at the Pentagon, and the very first was a warning not to look like idiots if we could help it. Sorry for the lengthy list, but I was curious. It seems that I’ve called Madonna, some ALF activists, the NYT, and the people wearing these T-shirts idiots. Throw in a couple of sarcastic pokes at Congress, Washington spin doctors, and the Pentagon for good measure. I’ll stand by that list.

  8. Fair enough. Noting that your post references only your concern about the T-shirt statement, I probably should have posted on the Master of None post directly. My original intent was to question what the rules are around referencing 9/11/2001 (for the sake of common language here I’ll use that shorthand). When does it start to get like any criticism of Isralei policy being an act of anti-Semitism? Note that the original post speaks of punching a woman because she has offended this man and impeded his access to the grocery store. He is bothered that people who have a different opinion are trying to bully him into sharing their opinion. He belittles them for striking as does Carlos who goes on to say: And to intimadate(sic) customers like you Michael for going to shop at a company being struck is nothing less than acting like big overgrown bullies. The kind who were that way as kids and never grew out of it. Oh I know about the way unions once brought about much needed improvements in working conditions but those days are long gone. Nowadays unions strike over all kinds of silly things just to get an extra dollar or two in pay or else to squeeze companies for every penny they can get. Director Mitch then points out that the ‘…female strikers that are, um, ‘pleasing to the eye’ in the ‘asset’ department’ How quickly did this get off of the idea of being offended by the presumed reference to 9/11/2001? Isn’t Mitch’s comment offensive to women? Carlos thinks people wanting a few more dollars an hour is silly? What happened to the outrage over the T-Shirt? Wouldn’t it be fair for the strikers to possibly be as outraged by Carlos’ characterization of the strike as Carlos may be about the T-shirt? What I question is the unspoken rules around 9/11/2001. It is enough to say ‘9/11 changed everything’ without saying what exactly this means and implying that to ask about it or do anything that offends anyone in reference to 9/11 is un-American or unpatriotic and that everyone must share the same feelings about it. No questions asked. Isn’t this rather a mob mentality like the strikers? My orginal post was probably poorly presented to start such a discussion. And certainly MO, and M in particular, are open to different ideas. But am I the only one who thinks that much of the blogosphere is more of a bullyosphere? I believe KTLA made mention of how the anonymizing element of the web makes it easier to throw statements at others in a way we wouldn’t in person? I’ll try to do a better job of presenting my specific questions more clearly. I hope that topics can be discussed in a more academic fashion rather than political. I believe we are better off if we can learn from each other rather than bludgeon those who disagree.

  9. Yes, the blogosphere is something of a bullyosphere. (I don’t even like the words ‘blog’ or ‘blogosphere.’) Mr. Williams spoke of wanting to hit, but he didn’t hit. I often want to hit, but I don’t because I realize that it isn’t warranted and/or worth the consequences. I don’t know if Williams REALLY meant that he truly wanted to hit the woman or not, but even if he did he made the same decision. The remark about putting attractive women on the line may be degrading to women, but it is absolutely a tactic that is used by strikers. (I’m speaking from personal knowledge on that one.) The act is degrading, and pointing it out might be as well, depending on how it’s done. I’m really not buying that people don’t have the same feelings about 9/11. People certainly have different feelings about the cause of, the proper response to, and the greater meaning of those events, but I don’t think people (other than your typical sprinkling of wackos) would support trivializing it. And I honestly believe that if you say ‘9/11’ virtually everyone will know exactly what you’re talking about, whether they read MO or not. I do not have all the details about 9/11, the grocery strike, or the deaths in Chile. I also don’t know the names of any slaves freed by the Emancipation Proclamation or all the ins and outs of post-D-Day French politics, but that shouldn’t prevent me from having strong feelings about the US Civil War or about our invasion of Continental Europe in 1944. My personal knowledge of grocery strikes, both in California and elsewhere, doesn’t put me in a mind to take grocery strikers very seriously. That’s unfair, of course, to these particular strikers, but that is my own personal ‘common sense’ of the general situation. I didn’t speak directly to the issues or to right or wrong, only to the t-shirt. And just because some people will claim that ANY criticism of Israeli policy is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that a lot of it isn’t. Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts. Please continue to do so.

  10. I’m pretty much in agreement with Murdoc on this one, so I won’t add more fuel to the fire. MP, nor did I say that you were one of the people that thinks we need to ‘get over’ 9/11, that was just the feeling I got from reading your post, and since I pretty much disagreed with everything you said, I decided to let loose. This *is* a forum, that’s why I flamed what you said, not you personally. I’m done now. At least until next time. 🙂