VENICE, Calif. – Several hundred workers and supporters from the community turned out in front of a Ralphs Market here Oct. 18 for a rally in support of the striking grocery workers. The strike and lockout involves over 70,000 grocery workers in Southern California.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Democratic candidate for president, addressed the crowd.

“Every worker who’s ever had their wage knocked down must support your efforts,” Kucinich told the spirited crowd. “Every worker who’s ever been asked to sacrifice their health care benefits must support your efforts.”

Many other speakers, such as movie and television personality Ed Asner, gave speeches supporting the workers. United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1442 President Mike Staeter warned that “it could be a long strike and the corporations want a war!” Ellen Anreder, another UFCW spokeswoman, said, “the supermarkets must first make a new contract offer. The workers rejected the offer that was on the table. Unless there’s a new offer, there’s really no way to talk.”

After the speakers finished addressing the rally, the workers and their supporters marched around the front of the market with signs and chants, urging consumers and workers to observe the picket line. They also got great responses from cars honking in solidarity from the street.

At press time, the UFCW, AFL-CIO, the National Organization for Women, and religious, health advocacy and community groups were making plans for the announcement Oct. 30 of a major initative to support the striking workers, including nation-wide financial support.

The author can be reached at