Drop the Pig? Sure, then make sure electeds stand up for labor

Via undoctrinaire…

Earlier this week a long running labor dispute between Piggly Wiggly Midwest and one of its labor unions finally boiled over, with the grocery store operator announcing it would close its Sheboygan store, putting 108 employees out of work.

In a statement released via email, Piggly Wiggly Midwest Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Butera said the store in Sheboygan was being closed because it had posted “continued and sustained losses.”

Over at Cognitive Dissidence, Chris “capper” Liebenthal is calling for action:

We can help our union brothers and sisters out, even if we aren’t in Sheboygan. All we have to do is call the local Piggly Wiggly and tell them that we will stop shopping at their store if they don’t call the Sheboygan manager and tell him to sit down and negotiate in good faith. Then follow through with it. I’ll be calling the Piggly Wiggly store that I go to and doing just that.

Since capper wants folks to call Piggy Wiggly to tell them to sit down and negotiate in good faith, perhaps capper can get ahold of Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski (who capper once did paid consulting for) and ask Zielinski to do the same.

After all, I’m betting a phone call from Tony Zielinski to Paul Butera would do some good, considering Butera was a supporter of Zielinski’s most recent reelection campaign. In fact, here’s a photo of Tony Zielinski with Paul Butera, the chairman, CEO, and president of Piggly Wiggly Midwest.

Image - Zielinski for Alderman

As I wrote on Blogging Blue, Paul Butera is notable not only because he’s the operator of the Sheboygan and Bay View Piggly Wiggly stores (among others), but also because he’s so anti-union he’s actually been sanctioned by the National Labor Relations Board for his improper actions in dealing with labor unions representing his employees.

I’m all for calling on Paul Butera to do the right thing and actually negotiate with his employees (instead of simply trying to dictate terms to them), but while we’re trying to hold Paul Butera accountable, maybe we should also try to hold his “friends in high places” accountable as well. If he were any friend to labor (or the liberal he says he is), Alderman Tony Zielinski would issue a statement immediately calling for Paul Butera to do the right thing.


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5 thoughts on “Drop the Pig? Sure, then make sure electeds stand up for labor

  1. Hang in there Paul. You are the one who made the initial investment to start the company. You are the one who pays the bills you are the one that takes the risk. Now lets see what the unions have invested…oh wait that is their hand digging into your pocketbook looking for more of your profits to pad their mine MINE MINE mentality. Hang in there Paul don’t let the unions intimidate you as to how YOU run YOUR business.

  2. Parasitic Elitism: Dante and The Pig

    In a previous post (http://bloggingblue.com/2012/06/20/eric-hovde-living-large/) we looked at Dante’s subtle stitchery where he insidiously threaded together several vicious ideations about working class people. In particular we looked at his use of imprecision in language to create an ugly and inaccurate narrative of union workers. But Dante’s comments here achieve a decisive clarity remarkably inconsistent with the muddying quality of language he previously used to malign the working class. What a curious shift. Actually, not so curious when one realizes Dante is a manipulator. A manipulator of minds. His purpose is to instill hatred into the minds of Wisconsin citizens toward their union brethren. Dante is a hate monger and a minister of Conservative Extremist Propaganda, who sows discord and division within Wisconsin hearts.

    Let’s study Dante again along with the Pig’s Paul. When we look at Date’s subversion of “yours” and “mine” Dante’s world view is totally revealed, and in that revelation we find the noxious attitude which is one force eroding America’s economy and subsequently the well being of America’s working class.

    Dante’s portrayal of union workers is not as participants in business or as contributors to the profits the business generates but as thieves. His only perspective in this business relationship is Paul and his profits. But Paul is not the Little Red Hen who performed every aspect of all the work necessary to effect an outcome. Nor is the outcome isolated to Paul. Piggly Wiggly, not solely Paul, is the outcome. Piggly Wiggly, in turn, shares a relationship with the community it inhabits, the Piggly Wiggly consumers.

    If Piggly Wiggly is just Paul and his profits, then Piggly Wiggly is an endeavor without a purpose. If Paul’s purpose with Piggly Wiggly is solely profit motivated as Dante suggests, where Piggly Wiggly employees are not dynamic players in Piggly Wiggly’s success then Paul’s judgement as a responsible businessperson must be called into question. If Paul cannot be trusted to negotiate in good faith with his employees because his profit margins might be affected, if Paul doesn’t value his employees enough to engage them honestly concerning the profits they helped to create, then Piggly Wiggly consumers can’t trust Paul and Piggly Wiggly either.

    If Paul is so quick to give his employees short shrift and regard them with disdain, if Paul is so quick to cut labor costs to boost his profit margin rather than engaging with the front line labor force to identify where the business could improve its business model then Piggly Wiggly’s customers have every reason to believe Piggly Wiggly regards its customers in the same way – with disdain.

    Where else might Paul be willing to cut costs to boost his profit margin? Food quality? Food safety? Building maintenance that ensures a safe and secure environment for shoppers? If Piggly Wiggly is willing to close its doors before it engages in a participatory business relationship with its employees, then Piggly Wiggly demonstrates an equal disdain for the community it inhabits. The public cannot trust the Pig. What reason does the public have to support a business that doesn’t regard the community as an important partner? Its employees are its community just as its consumers are its community. The public consumer cannot trust businesses which operate with an anti-union business model. If Paul’s Piggly Wiggly so easily treats its employees with such inhumane brutality the public has every reason to believe that Paul’s Piggly Wiggly regards the consumer in the same way. Paul’s anti-unionism reveals that quality and safety are not foremost concerns in Piggly Wiggly’s business model. Consumers should be wary and regard every one of Paul’s Piggly Wiggly stores with caution by finding alternative grocers who operate more responsibly and more humanely.

    Let’s return to Dante, Apologist for the Elite. Dante’s comment reveals a number of very important aspects about Dante’s world view. Dante’s angle is that of strict authoritarian whose view of the world is hierarchical. He views the world from the elitist position; he views the world from the top down. Dante’s perspective on this Piggly Wiggly matter stresses the importance of only one narrow perspective, that of Paul’s dictatorial authority. He does not consider the input of the Pig’s employees toward making the store more profitable. Dante does not value their front line knowledge of operations nor does he regard with any importance their role as customer service providers which increase profitability and enhance the Piggly Wiggly brand. Dante does not regard the public consumer who relies on the Pig for maintaining utmost integrity at every operative level. Dante, therefore, regards the consumer as he regards the employee – as disposable entities to be exploited.

    Dante, without doubt, shares in Paul’s toxic anti-unionism. Dante’s propagandist subversion is his view of MINE MINE MINE for he considers Piggly Wiggly in terms of only Paul and his profits. Essentially Dante tells Paul to say to himself, the profits from Piggly Wiggly are MINE MINE MINE. The only benefits from Piggly Wiggly are profits and they are MINE MINE MINE. When Dante considers only the narrowest interest (Paul’s interest) as the one that matters Dante exposes his own parasitic elitism.

    Paul and Dante’s parasitic elitism or shall we call it ideology without ideals is the very spirit that deteriorates our economy and our quality of life in America. Entrepreneurialism is to be admired and valued but entrepreneurialism without ideals or vision is nothing more than predatory and parasitic profit gluttony. Profit gluttony holds no value for society. Likewise, if Piggly Wiggly has no other purpose than profit it is not a valuable addition to society. Any decision made by the Pig that might benefit the consumer is transected by profit gluttony, not what is most beneficial or indeed least harmful to the consumer.

    When we as a nation can wean ourselves from profit gluttony as an economic template only then will we return to creating business models with conscience and vision as was the intent at this nation’s founding. When the public mind can separate entrepreneurial from incorporation, perhaps we can build better business models that do not exploit public and employee alike. When we remember that the founding fathers intended business to operate on two principles, “profit and public good,” perhaps “we the people” will insist upon economic foundations that do creatively operate so both these principles are met rather than one at the expense of the other. When we reject the restrictive, hierarchical thinking of Parasitic Elitists like Dante and Paul only then will we create sustainable economic models where workers are participants in a Democratic Economy rather than an Elitist Dictatorial Economy.

  3. Will Tony Z return the thousands he accepted from Butera’s Piggly Wiggly Midwest to his “Fair Trade” PAC (talk about irony of the century)?

  4. The question I ask here is if Mr Butera is a modern day “Robber Baron?


    Using the definition in the link provided, it may be asked, Did Mr Butera use questionable practices to amass his wealth at the expense of his workers? And a follow up; If so, is it ongoing?

    Using “Rerum Novarum” of 1896 and current affirmation by Catholic bishops, it is a teaching that workers have a moral right to form, join, and be represented by unions to achieve a just wage to achieve and maintain an adequate economic life,

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