SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Students from Santa Monica City College’s Progressive Student Alliance rallied with striking grocery workers Nov. 23 at a Pavilions market in Beverly Hills. Hails of support and cars honking gave the protestors encouragement during the two-hour rally. The protest emptied the store as the Beverly Hills Police Department and the store managers looked on.

“The corporations have not budged in what they call their ‘last, best and final offer,’” said Jordan Block, City College student and member of the student alliance. “We’re talking about health care in a country like the United States where 40 million people don’t have it,” said Block. “The only way to get it is through your employer and you have to fight for it.” He added, “Who wants to live in a country where 100,000 people die each year from preventable diseases and conditions?”

Recently retail workers and their unions have been protesting the construction of more than 40 proposed Wal-Mart stores in the Southern California area. Competition from the nonunion sector, which provides its employees poor or no health care, is undermining the hard-won health care coverage of union workers. Safeway Corp, the owner of Vons, used the competition from Wal-Mart as an excuse for its demand for drastic health care cuts which sparked the current strike.

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