Delegates adopted Action of Immediate Witness 2, "Support Southern California Supermarket Workers' Struggle for Decent Wages and Benefits."
Rick Rhoads, delegate from the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica, Calif., spoke in favor of the AIW, reporting that workers were nearing a massive strike in response to severe cuts in their wages and benefits. “These workers are showing us the way,” he said. “This is a national issue.”
Speakers against the AIW did not agree, saying it was too localized an issue to merit an AIW from the entire association.
The AIW recognizes that Southern California supermarket workers earn an average of less than $30,000 per year working fulltime, and parttime workers earn far less, and the workers are disproportionately African American, Latino, and female.
The AIW calls upon UU congregations in Southern California to support the workers by: educating members, organizing petition campaigns, and not shopping at supermarkets where there are strikes. It also asks them to join picket lines and support strikers by serving them meals and holding demonstrations.
It asks congregations outside of Southern California to write letters of support, make donations to strikers, and lead petition campaigns and demonstrations.
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Michelle Bates Deakin, a member of First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington, Massachusetts, was a UU World contributing editor from 2006 to 2011 and a UU World senior editor from 2011 to 2014. She is the author of Social Action Heroes: Unitarian Universalists Who Are Changing the World (Skinner House, 2011) and Gay Marriage, Real Life: 10 Stories of Love and Family (Skinner House, 2006).
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