By Rosalie Tirella
It’s heartbreaking that Whole Foods Market is gonna build their new market in SHREWSBURY (at the old Spags site on Rt. 9) and not in Worcester. There go 175 part- and full-time jobs over the bridge! Bye bye! There they go to join the workers at Trader Joe’s, an organic, healthy foods store in Shrewsbury, a fun place to grocery shop, a place where the prices are low/reasonable, a place where I often get my fruits and veggies and cheeses, and even great greeting cards, for a buck!
A place I’d like to patronize IN WORCESTER, my home turf! A store I’d like to see employing my District 4 neighbors! Good people who used to have jobs but were laid off and are looking to rejoin the American workforce, in all its shabby glory.
WHAT IS WRONG, Worcester?
WHERE THE HELL IS OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TEAM?
Why aren’t we wooing companies like Whole Foods Market to Worcester?
Why isn’t anyone doing the leg work to meet company heads from ALL OVER THE COUNTRY to sell our great city to them?!
WHERE’S OUR civic OOOMPH!?
We have the upper-middle and middle-class folks to support a Whole Foods! Just like we have the solidly middle class people to support a Trader Joe’s!
While Worcester chamber of commerce head Tim Murray is bending over backwards pushing for the city to give tax breaks to bio tech companies to lure them to Woo, a good thing, I guess, he’s forgotten the working men and women. Probably because we’re mundane, our jobs not trendy or cool – unsexy. BUT: With our state minimum wage slated to increase (eventually) to $11 an hour, the 175 Whole Food jobs that are gonna go to Shrewsbury (in 2016) would have been a genuine boon to Worcester’s working class folks.
Our factories, for the most part, are long gone. Regular folks need regular jobs! It’s unrealistic to think every laid off short order cook or janitor is gonna go back to school or take night classes and join the new economy. Why not provide these basic jobs that keep people in my District 4 neighborhood afloat, in their apartments, driving their cars?
When the casino was rejected by Worcester and vice versa, I bumped into a 50-something guy who bemoaned the fact. He was a laid off short order cook and had been looking for a job for months.Sent out more than 150 resumes. He got a few nibbles, nothing substantial. The guy was hoping to get a cooking or kitchen job with the casino.
I told him: Well, the jobs weren’t going to be so great – just pay around $27,000 a year, not in the mid-$40s, like the city had thought.
He said: I’LL TAKE IT!!!!!!
A job, no matter what kind, = $$$$ to pay bills. Plus it’s DIGNITY for a lot of folks who’ve taken it on the chin maybe their whole lives, and NEED to feel needed, appreciated, important. My late mom worked at a dry cleaners for minimum wage – for decades! – and LOVED HER JOB. She was a counter girl, took in people’s clothing, gave them their dry cleaned or laundered stuff and worked the cash register. She was a people person ALL THE WAY, totally enjoyed interacting with the public. Polite, well groomed, smart, well spoken. Her job was a huge part of her identity! In the best way possible! I’ll never forget: Every Christmas, even Valentine’s Day, she was always loaded up with gifts her customers would give her. She was a working-class queen! For a few days, any ways!
We need to remember this. No job too small. No job too mundane. I’m all for bio tech. But I’m for Whole Foods Market, too.
A STRONG MAYOR WOULD BE HUSTLING FOR MY SHORT ORDER COOK PAL and Woo working people in general. He or she would want their votes. NEED THEIR SUPPORT.
Can you imagine somone running for strong mayor of Worcester, his or her platform being: JOBS FOR ALL!
Jobs for any Worcester guy or gal who needs a job, which is every adult pretty much.
STRONG MAYOR = STRONG ECONOMY!