Treasure Island I: Unbalanced and Misleading | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Treasure Island I: Unbalanced and Misleading

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Dear editor:

The June 25 article "The Battle for Treasure Island" gave an unbalanced and misleading report on the current labor dispute between Treasure Island Foods and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). The article ignores the eight-page complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Treasure Island's owners (Maria and Christ Kamberos) and store management, including Mary O'Connor, who the NLRB identifies as an "agent" of the company. Instead, the article attempts to portray O'Connor and another store manager, Tim Connolly, as victims of this fight. Make no mistake about it, the true "victims" are the employees and their families who lost their health insurance and pension benefits and who have been threatened and coerced by Treasure Island and its managers.

In the end, the fight is about protecting the good wages and benefits of their employees and their families. The UFCW's goal, whether it is Wal-Mart or Treasure Island, is to prevent employee wages and benefits in Chicago from racing to the bottom. It is for these reasons that the UFCW established an unfair-labor-practice picket line and called for a consumer boycott, so these employees, who have been terrorized into silence, can have a voice about their future.

When the Skyline did a fair and balanced story on the labor dispute, the owners of Treasure Island prevented the Skyline from being distributed at its stores.

It is unfortunate that the Reader has been cowed by Treasure Island's antiunion and un-American tactics.

I can only hope that they get the story right next time.

Ronald E. Powell

President, local 881

UFCW International vice president

Christopher Hayes replies:

The NLRB complaint was issued on June 24, the day the paper came out. Had it been released earlier I would have included that information.

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