On a hot mid-day Tuesday, August 13, five of us from the ASC Economic Justice/Nonviolence working group, together with Francisco Garcia, joined a picket line in front of the Food4Less Market at the corner of Lake St. and Washington Blvd. in Pasadena. We carried signs saying “Support Food4Less Workers.” We were there to express solidarity with employees of that market who were protesting the decision of Kroger Company (owner of Ralphs and Food 4Less) to reduce wages and benefits as a condition for contract renewal with The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW, Local 770). I was touched by the enthusiastic reception given us by the twenty or so union workers who had been picketing in front of the store a number of hours before our arrival.
With few exceptions, main line Protestant churches have tended to distance themselves from the struggles of organized labor, so any time the church steps forward for worker justice, it is welcomed. Francisco, wearing his priest collar and speaking fluent Spanish helped strengthen our witness on behalf of worker justice.
I came away from this experience feeling hopeful for a future where a living wage can be earned by all workers. Participation in the days action also reminded me why my wife Pat and I have chosen to be part of All Saints Church, a congregation which embodies the words of Cornel West “justice is what love looks like in public.”