The Spark

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

Dodge Truck cafeteria workers on strike

Sep 10, 2001

Striking Crank’s Catering workers greeted afternoon shift Dodge Truck workers with smiles and cheers on Friday, September 7. They smiled because truck workers were bringing in their lunch while others promised to call for take-out.

“No cafeteria! No vending!” strikers from UFCW Local 1064 chanted as they asked Dodge Truck workers, members of UAW Local 140, to support their strike by boycotting the cafeteria and vending machines.

In May 2001, Crank’s workers voted to join the UFCW union. A co-worker who had been fired for refusing to sell spoiled meat was able to get her job back during this campaign.

Their first contract negotiations initially went well and a tentative agreement was reached. Then Jeff Crank, the owner, fired his own negotiator, withdrew the offer and replaced it with his “final” offer – a much worse one. In response, workers voted to begin their strike on Wednesday, September 5.

The strike coincided with a sanitation headache for Crank’s. A recent visit from the health department found numerous violations. Food service workers explain management had cut back hours, allowing no time for proper clean up. Management also demanded that workers “work off the clock” to clean up.

Jeff Crank told strikers he has deep pockets and can wait out the strikers. But where does Jeff’s money come from?

IF those pockets are deep, then they are deep with union money earned in UAW buildings and offices.

Before it was taken offline, the Crank’s Catering website listed numerous UAW-affiliated references as “satisfied customers.” Here is a partial list: UAW GM National Human Resource Center, UAW GM Tech Center, UAW Ford, UAW Chrysler National Training Center, UAW Chrysler Wayne Center, UAW Dave Miller Building, UAW Union Locals 1248, 155, 1264, 212, 2280, and 228.

Crank’s also catered the most recent LaborFest. How hypocritical! (And the lines were long at LaborFest because not enough workers were called in and not enough food service gloves had been supplied to the workers who were there.)

Crank’s has hired scab workers as replacements. And a few former managers were demoted to workers’ positions, only to cross the picket line. One of these former managers is black and he makes a special point to appeal on that basis to black Crank workers to cross the line. He, obviously, wants them to forget that Cranks systematically pays black workers less than its white workers. Many of them are stuck at $7.40, $7.50 and $8.00 an hour. One of the demands of the Crank workers, white and black, has been equal pay for equal work.

This company has a lot of business in union offices and buildings. Until it straightens up, it ought to have no business!