The Spark

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

Workers give up pay
– Farmer Jack closes stores

Jan 19, 2004

The ink was barely dry on the contract. Workers at Farmer Jack grocery stores in Michigan had just given up 5% of their pay, under the threat that Farmer Jack would close 13 stores if they did not.

Then Farmer Jack turned around and announced it was closing three stores and converting the other 10 to deep-discount, few-job stores.

It's hard to see what the workers gained from their 5% pay cut!

On the other hand, it's clear what A&P gained. The Farmer Jack chain of 106 stores in Michigan and Ohio is owned by A&P, which includes more than 643 stores in the U.S. and Canada. From 2001 to 2002, A&P revenues dropped 180 million dollars – while Farmer Jack revenues rose by 26.7 million.

The workers gave up pay and face losing jobs, not because Farmer Jack is in trouble, but because A&P wants to pad its bottom line.