business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Oregonian reports that “an ongoing dispute between Fred Meyer and 200 unionized grocery store checkers in Spokane has trickled down to Portland, where union representatives have been spotted leafleting shoppers and demonstrating in front of stores.” The union says that the Kroger-owned chain has been firing checkout people unfairly after making just one mistake, and it has refused to vote on a new contract until it achieves what it calls “progressive discipline and just cause."
KC's View:
What I find amusing about this story is that the union says that the chain “unfairly terminates checkers for giving the wrong change, sometimes after one error. Fred Meyer says the company maintains a policy of terminating workers who demonstrate negligence in cash-handling and that the Spokane workers are alone in contesting the rule. “

This is amusing, in my view, since it isn’t like checkers have to do any actual calculations. They don’t make change ... they just hand it over. It isn’t like the old days, when I worked in retail, when we actually had to make change based on math we did in our heads. Nope...they just enter the cash handed over into the computer, which tells them how much to hand back. How hard is that? (The quarter is the big one, the dime is the small one, the penny is the copper one, and the bills all have big numbers on them...)

So, aside from the fact that I am dismayed by the fact that I am telling any story that essentially starts with “back in the good old days,” I have to say that if a cashier can’t hand back proper change, I’m not sure how much I’d want them working the front end.