Following the corporate attacks of the 1980s and 1990s, and their attending defeats, grocery workers across the country ended the century in a workplace radically different from the one that existed several decades earlier. Workers who spent years making careers at supermarkets watched as their former world unraveled in a few short years and was replaced by a new low-wage, low-benefit, part-time reality.
The story of grocery’s aggressive low-wage, part-time restructuring is a broader history of the vicious rollbacks of the 1980s and 1990s. But it’s also partly a history of labour bureaucracy and of how a bill had come due. The result was a mostly unchecked assault across the entire industry that decimated the key benefits that characterized grocery work for half a century prior. But the story is still being written.