The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Chicago Grocery Workers Confront Wage Theft and Pay Cuts

Apr 11, 2022

Over 4,000 Chicago area grocery workers are demanding a retroactive pay raise and reversal of wage cuts at 182 Jewel-Osco stores.

Food giant Albertsons Inc., the parent company of Jewel, violated a contract it previously signed with the Food and Commercial Workers Union and refused to implement a 30 to 50 cents per hour wage increase for the store’s meat, fish, and deli workers.

Since August 2021 when the new contract took effect, workers’ paychecks have been shorted, and retroactive pay has been denied. Many workers were also shocked to discover their wages had actually been cut by $2 to $3 per hour without notice of any kind.

For months the company has blamed all this on a “computer glitch” and a “payroll snafu” of some kind, acting as if they’re a simple “mom and pop” shop with some understandable technical limitations—a real joke!

At the height of the pandemic Albertsons was “honoring” as “essential” and “heroic” the exact same workers they are screwing today! When Albertsons’ CEO recently announced an 18% increase in profits during the pandemic, he cynically attributed it to "A favorable economic backdrop together with the heroic performance of our frontline retail teams."

Workers are angry, but so far their response has been limited to exposing Albertsons’ actions in social media and the press. By now it is clear to many that a signed union contract is not enough, and a much bigger fight is needed to turn back Albertsons’ attacks.

Workers at other Albertsons chains continue to face similar wage issues and can be important allies.