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One of the themes of this blog has always been that people have the power to make not only their lives but the lives of their community better.  There are several ways to do this.  This week’s vote by Blaine Luetkemeyer for Fast Track to lower wages and job loss illustrates the importance of voting as a way of participating.  Good leadership leads to good things, Blaine’s leadershipDollarvote will lead to bad things.

There is an even more powerful way to shape your community than voting and you do it almost everyday.  How you spend your money determines many things.  Support retailers that provide good customer service, more retailers will have good customer service.  Support retailers that pay family-supporting wages, more retailers will pay family-supporting wages. Purchase American made goods, more American made goods will be produced.

Recently, Todd Schnuck, CEO of Schnucks Markets brought this point home with his comments at the St. Louis Port Council Award Dinner as told in this story from the St. Louis Labor Tribune.

To make his point about non-union competition, Schnuck noted that Schnucks is working on a “sizeable construction project (a massive new warehouse). They put the project out for bid to both a union and a non-union contractor. The latter came in $900,000 under the union bid.

Schnuck said his company will likely go with the higher union bid because “it’s the right thing to do… and it will work better.” He challenged union families to do the same — shop at the union grocers in order to protect good-paying union jobs.

“Why is it ok for us to pay $900,000 more to support union wages and benefits while, at the same time, your members are shopping at our non-union competition?” Schnuck asked.

“If your own union wages and benefits matter to you, then you should be supporting other union retailers,” Schnuck said to rousing applause and a standing ovation.

“Let’s do what we each can do to build good union jobs.”

The founding principle of this blog is to support and try to improve the conditions of American labor, both union and non-union.  You have more power than you realize when you spend your hard-earned money.  Spending your dollars at firms that pay low wages and few benefits makes it more likely your employer may feel that is the acceptable standard and pay you low wages and few benefits.  Conversely, when you support employers that treat their workers well that becomes the acceptable standard and your employer will likely maintain that standard.

So do a little research, learn which firms and products support American workers and help yourself by spending your dollars in a way that makes life better. Happy shopping!