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Tim Scott: More to C&S story than Richard Cohen’s great wealth

To the editor:

Why would the Gazette print (above the fold) a public relations piece from Bloomberg News about C&S Wholesale Grocers and its billionaire chairman, Richard Cohen?

By printing this advertisement disguised as a news story — a growing phenomenon and symptom of the death of journalism — our community newspaper is choosing to bypass journalistic integrity to celebrate corporate greed over public interests, particularly during a time of unparalleled economic inequality.

The Gazette could have seized upon the opportunity to use it as a basis to expose the fact that while C&S is reaping record profits, it is also a company known for its exploitive dog-eat-dog labor practices (a major contributor to Cohen’s outrageous wealth). The article references the company’s success being based in its model of labor “efficiency” which is code for squeezing the most work out of a workforce with little to no regard for their material and personal well-being.

These practices are resulting in a growing number of legal charges and lawsuits by C&S workers and labor unions. These accessible facts are overwhelmingly supported by the numerous and never reported personal testimonies I have heard over the years from friends, neighbors and clients who have worked at the C&S distribution center in Hatfield. It seems the Gazette is only interested in promoting the myth of a virtuous corporation and its chairman at the expense of critically examining the brutal labor practices that are responsible for the company’s “success.”

Tim Scott

Northampton

Related

Billionaire C&S Wholesale Grocers chief - among the 100 richest people in the world - keeps a low local profile

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

There’s a reason why Richard B. Cohen escapes attention. The chairman of C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. works out of a nondescript office park once slated to house a county jail in Keene, N.H., a leafy mountain hamlet 90 miles northwest of Boston. The truckers who deliver goods from the company’s 54 distribution centers — including one in Hatfield, Mass., — … 0

Tim, you said what many of us should have said. Being forced to work to a speed which is unsafe (the pickers' job) and then paid according to how fast you work......being asked to unload trucks of returns and put even questionable ones back in stock, and then being told to do your job when you suggest something might be no longer useable.........truck drivers who are supposed to ignore the DOT rules for hours in the seat, and on and on. and of course none of this is ever made public, and when challenged, the supervisors deny it. As you say, we all have heard the stories, but in today's economy people keep their mouths shut and do what they are told to keep a job. i don't imagine the reporter could have found current employees willing to speak on the record, but some of the issues are public record, or available through the NLRB, the truckers' union, and other unions doing business with the company. The beginning of the end of this kind of business practice will come only when someone can speak up and a thorough investigation can be made. and while this article is specific to this one company, the same business model exists in other companies as well.

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