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Self-Checkout: A Union-Busting Technology


The Stop and Shop Strike is now in its sixth day. Some stores are closed, others remain open. Yesterday I went out to my local store, where I do most of my shopping, and walked the picket line with the workers as part of a solidarity event. How are the stores staying open? It’s partially the closure of less profitable stores and the moving of managers to keep the others open. It’s partially the hiring of some scabs, though with the relatively tight labor market, these are unlikely to be particularly well-trained workers. And some of it is my old enemy, noted destroyer of jobs, the self-checkout stand that so many commenters here defend.

The Amity Stop & Shop in New Haven is open, but the gas station is closed. Only only self check-outs is available with no cashiers.

Workers outside the entrance said many shoppers came Thursday and went inside the store anyway, saying they didn’t know about the strike. Self checkouts were open, but no cash registers were open.

This is the case with most of the stores that are open. They don’t have enough workers to run the cashier machines, but thanks to self-checkout lanes, they don’t need to.

As I’ve stated many times before, self-checkout lanes are an incredibly anti-worker technology. They steal jobs away from workers, in this case, union workers. They convince you do to labor for the grocery store chain for free. Moreover, in a case like this, using them means that people aren’t only crossing the picket line, they are actively scabbing against striking workers.

Anybody who cares about the rights of workers in this country should be absolutely ashamed to use a self-checkout stand. You are stealing a job from someone who needs it and giving companies tools to use against workers.

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