Why Are Bloomingdale's Workers Going On Strike? Here's A Few Theories

Not a lot of news outlets seem to be paying attention, but workers at the flagship Bloomingdale's by Central Park are maybe about to go on strike. The sticking point, apparently, is the introduction of a new health plan "with the goal of providing more choice," and the union doesn't like that idea; "neither side," according to the New York Times, "would explain why." Why would a bunch of workers at a nice place like Bloomingdale's go on strike in protest of something as virtuous as choice? I had a few theories...

They are sick of "choice." It's not feminist to say so, but "choice" in many realms, is overrated. Choice just means more time wasted making pointless decisions. Choice means more scouring the grocery store in a daze and scanning the menu trying to figure out what it is exactly that you "want," when a lot of times what you really want is to spend more time doing what you really want and less time being annoyed your friend can't decide what pair of jeans to buy. And when it comes to health care, "choice" for most people has only ever led to more cash for more paperwork and more advertising.

They want a day off. I want a day off. In fact, I want ten. If I were in a union, I would totally authorize a strike, just so I could get a vacation from which I could return knowing no one else has swooped in to render me completely irrelevant, which they always seem to do just when you think you've made yourself indispensable.

Because they can. There are more than 15 million retail workers in America. And how many members does the national Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union that represents the Bloomie's cashiers and stock managers have? One hundred thousand. I'm sure there are other retail unions, but the fact is that I am not going to bother looking them up because I can tell you in full confidence that they have barely any members either, because department stores have been themselves rendered largely irrelevant by dollar stores and strip centers and suburban Best Buys and exurban Wal-Marts and ubiquitous Starbucks and all the other big companies that knew better than to let their workers unionize, lest they actually be forced to follow laws requiring them to provide uniforms and pay overtime and the like.

Because they're sick of Europeans. New York is being inundated with them right now, and although they're mostly attractive and friendly it's gotta be getting old, all those attractive, friendly people with their enviable education systems and universal health care and criminally high levels of life satisfaction and wads and wads of currency unweakened by the excesses of bankers and military industrial complex dwellers run amok and they're using it to buy out all the pretty dresses retail workers were hoping to get the chance to mark down. Fuck you, Euroca$h!

Because your store is making money hand over fist, but your 401(k) is going nowhere because the company keeps pissing it away buying celebrities who are RICH ENOUGH ALREADY. Macy's 1.17 billion ad budget of last year might have kept my old friends in the newspaper business on career life support for a little while, but it also lined the pockets of Jessica Simpson and Martha Stewart, and Jessica Simpson should have never been born.

Strike Possible This Week At Bloomingdale's Main Store [NY Times]