Farmer Joe’s & Friends

All about Farmer Joe’s Marketplace

Picketing the Plywood

I have to give the whole UFCW local 5 theatrical scene yesterday a two thumbs down. First, they started late. The union’s “rally” was supposed to commence at 5pm. Local 5 has to drive in from out of town so someone is always holding up the show because of bad traffic. Finally, their “rally” got started with a little over twenty people – executive board members, paid organizers, and the hourly non-UFCW folks you’ve seen in the parking lot who don’t speak much English and don’t really care what’s happening. The manager of Pete’s popped her head out the door and told them to take the freak show away from her store. The “rally” walked down the sidewalk and was left circling in front of the plywood of the soon to be opened La Farine French Bakery across from Joe’s on Fruitvale Avenue. Their bullhorn broke.

I guess it was about that time I lost interest in the bad production. I walked back to Farmer Joe’s entrance and talked to customers. Some were laughing. Some were rolling their eyes. Some wanted harassment forms. All are sick of the union coming into our neighborhood and disturbing it. One shopper thought they were picketing the La Farine’s. I thought the person was kidding.

“Yeah, someone inside the unopened store called the UFCW,” I joked.

“Really?” she asked.

I shook my head though I wouldn’t put it past something local 5 would claim considering what they have said about Farmer Joe’s.

The only shining light to the whole afternoon was Saundra Andrews. She showed up from Barbara Lee’s office. She is the first and only person that has showed up in the trenches. She got a first hand view of the sideshow. She got to see how we get treated by local 5.

In all honesty, my attention had waned so there at the end, I don’t know if she stopped the “rally,” or local 5 stopped it, or the broken bullhorn stopped it. The next thing I knew the union was claiming they were taking the high road by calling off the boycott and the picketing. I squinted into the sun when they said this, not so much because the sun hurt my eyes but what they said hurt my brain. That’s kind of like saying, “I’m going to take the high road and quit beating my wife for a while.” Screwed up logic. Even while they were saying that, they had 2 organizers in Joe’s parking lot passing out leaflets with lies. Saundra Andrews called across the street to the UFCW and told them to get their boys out of Joe’s lot. The UFCW called back across to Joe’s lot and told the jokers to leave. Of course, they couldn’t just leave the premises. They intimated they were going to sue me for the blog as they strolled by. “Corn Dog, it’s gonna cost you,” the organizer sneered. “You better get your money ready.” That’s some high road.

So, I went and chatted with Saundra Andrews. I like her. She kicked two harassers out the parking lot by shouting across the street. She is a strong woman. She says her background is labor relations. She has a funny little car with a missing hubcap. Someone broke in it and stole the ashtrays looking for money. It is all Oakland. Can she help? I don’t know. She says she is interested in the workers and the small Oakland businesses.

She gave me her business card. She told me if I saw local 5 in the parking lot harassing, picketing, or passing out leaflets in the next 30 days to call her. I intend to, but I worry the union is using her. Local 5 needs 30 days right now to go off and fry bigger fish. According to their own web site, they are currently in contract negotiations in Northern California with the major grocery chains and things aren’t going well with Safeway. Does this mean they are going down the block and cause a big scene there? Another high road?


September 20, 2007 - Posted by | Local 5, neighborhood, Oakland, picket, UFCW, union, union harassment


  1. I wonder how many of the guys that hand out leaflets are members of the union?

    Comment by worldphotos | September 22, 2007 | Reply

  2. This is the reason that unions are becoming obsolete. There is more commitment to the cause of self-comfort than the cause at hand, and most people know it.

    Comment by Bad Credit Car Loans | September 22, 2007 | Reply

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