By Rosalyn Hackworth
Everyone is blessed with the ability to use discernment, it is an inherent trait. Unfortunately, there are some individuals that fail to use discernment even when it comes to workplace or union matters. The dictionary defines discernment as “the ability to judge.” I wish it would amend the definition to say that discernment “is the ability to judge or reason in a wise manner.”
If you are wondering why discernment is the topic for my article it is because of events that have unfolded recently-specifically with our Haggen stores. In the past few days Haggen management decided to layoff a large amount of workers and conduct a mass reduction from full to part-time. As a union, we have never seen anything like this in the past. In the past, if an employer chose to implement layoffs they do it in a more traditional manner. Meaning, they layoff or reduce some of the least senior employees. The manner in which Haggen carried out its reduction in force lacked discernment.
I was very upset when I heard about the mass reductions and layoffs. I have known many of those affected for many years. I personally believe that the mass reductions to part-time and number of layoffs were an overkill. I don’t think the company realized what the aftermath would be.
UFCW Local 135 and the remaining locals in Southern California filed mass grievances in addition to individual grievances regarding all of the issues surrounding the reductions and layoffs at Haggen. We have placed several calls, sent emails and have met with Haggen to address our concerns and contract violations that have occurred.
As with many situations that affect our members in a negative way, the Grand Conspiracy Theory Squad comes out of hiding. These are the folks that also start ridiculous and sometimes malicious rumors during contract time. Well, as luck would have it, they are at it again. They have stooped so low as to say the union had a say in the mass reductions, and the bad part is that some poor soul will believe it without thinking it through – a lack of discernment on both accounts (which begs the question, what would we have to gain by advocating mass reductions and layoffs?). This unwarranted, and careless behavior takes away from what is important – our Haggen members’ livelihoods.
If you are affected by Haggen’s actions and have questions, please make sure you are not looking for answers in all the wrong places. It is bad enough that our Haggen members were reduced in hours or laid off. Like I always say, if someone approaches you with information ask them where they obtained the information and why they are privy to the information. Let’s face it, some people aren’t happy so rather than seeking therapy, they like to make others unhappy as well.
Remember to use your ability to discern and ask those around you to do the same, especially during a difficult time like this. Let’s not make matters worse by engaging in or spreading rumors that are outright lies.