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Center for Labor Research and Education


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Another employee’s butchered benefits

Los Angeles Times

Tony Mays, who cuts meat at the Vons in Echo Park, lets me into his apartment. When I don’t see the son he told me about on the phone, I figure he must be in the bedroom. But then I realize there is no bedroom.

It’s a studio apartment, says Mays, 31. His son, 3-year-old Tony Jr., is behind me, nodded out on a bed in a little cubbyhole. The room, in a former hotel near Washington and Main near downtown Los Angeles, is stuffy, and the small fan isn’t doing the child much good on a warm evening.

Mays, a single parent, pays $775 a month for this place. It’s definitely an improvement over the Long Beach shelter he and his son lived in until he got the job with Vons nearly two years ago, but it’s not where he expected to be after moving up the ladder in the supermarket company.

He went from $7.55 an hour to $11 as an apprentice, and then $17.38 earlier this year when he began running a meat department. But as Mays puts it, he’s a “second-tier” employee, meaning that his pay and benefits are not as good as employees who started before the 141-day strike and lockout 3