Union members in the Salem area showed their buying power Saturday, Oct. 6, after a “shop mob” at WinCo spent more than $1,200 on purchases and food donations. As many as 35 members purpled up and showed up over several hours on Saturday, bringing their money along with special cards indicating they were choosing to spend their union dollars at a locally owned business.
“We really enjoyed having them here,” said WinCo Foods assistant store manager Cheri Dempsey. “They were all in purple, so we were able to distinguish them from the crowd. All of them were very personable, and it was a great shopping experience for us.”
Stephen Walsh of DAS Local 125 helped put the event together. Along with the money these union workers spent at WinCo on Saturday, they donated 20 bags of groceries, nine bags of potatoes and a large turkey to the Union Gospel Mission.
“People in the store asked me what’s with all the purple t-shirts,” Walsh said. “I said we’re trying to draw attention to our importance to the community.”
He said he hopes members will want to do other “shop mobs” in the future in nearby communities such as Corvallis and Portland to clearly show how collective union buying power helps to bolster the local economy.
“It was close to payday, this is something (shopping) our members have to do anyway, and it’s good to do it together,” Walsh noted.