Progress after Kohler Strike

By Sarah Smoot, Organizer

ICWJ Organizer Sarah Smoot giving opening invocation inside Metcalfe's. Photo by Charity Schmidt

ICWJ Organizer Sarah Smoot giving opening invocation inside Metcalfe’s. Photo by Charity Schmidt

On Tuesday, Nov. 24th, ICWJ co-hosted an action in support of union workers at Metcalfe’s Grocery and the Kohler Plant. After 32 days of striking, Kohler workers have reached an agreement on a revised contract. Read more here.

I am moved by the workers at Kohler because the workers at the higher end of a two-tiered wage system went on strike in support of their coworkers in the lower tier. After recovery from the Great Recession, workers went on strike in opposition to the large gap in wages created by the two-tier system that went into place during the recession.

For the opening invocation at Metcalfe’s, where we joined with SCFL to purchase snacks from the unionized meat department to send to striking Kohler workers, I used the biblical teaching on the Body of Christ found in 1 Corinthians 12. The unity and mutual support among members described in this passage is like that of the union workers, who look out for one another and remind the heads of the business that the whole would not function without the health and contributions of each part, each member.

As it is, there are many parts but one body.
So the eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you” […]
If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part gets the glory, all the parts celebrate with it.
– 1Cor. 12:20-26

The action at Metcalfe’s was also in support of workers in the workers of its seafood department, who inspired by the meat department workers, also voted for unionizing and are experiencing push-back from Metcalfe’s. This dispute has not yet been resolved, and we await further news.

SCFL, ICWJ, and supporters of union workers, outside Metcalfe's on Dec. 1, 2015

SCFL, ICWJ, and supporters of union workers, outside Metcalfe’s on Dec. 1, 2015

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