The A&P Bankruptcy: It’s Always the Union’s Fault

This was captioned "A&P still exists?" on Flickr. It's a total mystery why a store this massive can't compete with Super Stop & Shop. | Flickr/<a href=http://www.flickr.com/photos/iandavid/3274996459/sizes/z/in/photostream/">iandavid</a> (<a href="http://www.creativecommons.org">Creative Commons</a>).

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


On Tuesday, RedState’s Erick Erickson used his morning email blast to highlight a post by LaborUnionReport (an anti-union website) blaming the bankruptcy of the “151-year old Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co., once the nation’s largest grocery chain,” (a.k.a. A&P) on the Union of Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW). A&P’s bankruptcy couldn’t possibly have to do with the massive changes in the grocery industry since 1975, the last year that the company dominated the market. Fragmentation of the industry, the gradual extinction of smaller stores, the explosion of regional supermarket chains, and the eventual arrival of Target and Walmart in the grocery business couldn’t have possibly been the reasons behind A&P’s decline. Nor could a series of dubious acquisitions, an ultra-competitive market, and the most difficult economic environment in decades have killed the company. No: it had to be the union. I asked Jim Papian, a spokesman for the UFCW, for their side of the story:

The charge that the union is responsible for [the A&P bankruptcy] is patently absurd. UFCW members work for regional chains Shop Rite, Stop + Shop, FoodTown, (to name only a few) plus national, Fortune 500 companies Kroger, Safeway, and Supervalu. These grocers are successful. Some are industry leaders. UFCW members work in almost every kind of market across the country and are instrumental in the success these companies enjoy.

If hiring unionized workers is so devastating to a grocer’s bottom line, why do so many other companies manage to do it and stay in business? Anyway, I’m sure if Mother Jones goes under, it will be because we’re UAW members, not because we’re in print journalism. Like all union members, our main goal is to undermine the financial health of our employer so we all lose our jobs.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate