More UFCW Locals Representing Stop & Shop Workers Vote to Strike

Marco Green
March 14, 2019

Five local United Food and Commercial Workers International unions representing more than 31,000 workers throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have now voted to authorize strikes.

A strike authorization vote enables local union leadership to call for a strike at any moment during the negotiation process.

The supermarket chain in a press release states their employees now pay far less for health insurance than most companies and the company provides most of its employees with a defined benefit pension, funded completely by the company and gives more paid time off than other food retailers in the region.

"Thirty years with the company and we work hard, very hard, and we deserve what we can get from the company", Stop and Shop employee Zira White said.

Nearly 600 members of Local Union 919 gathered in Downtown Hartford where they voted against Stop and Shop's proposed new contract.

Stop & Shop employees in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have been working under an expired contract since February 23 and are not close to reaching an agreement on pension benefits, wages, health and welfare, Ethier told The Eagle. Union and management began negotiations in mid-January.

The last time Stop and Shop employees went on strike was back in March of 1988.

"I am always hopeful and always optimistic", Melia said. Under the store's proposal, he said, deductions would be as high as $80 weekly by the end of the contract.

"We are far apart on all of them", he said.

Stefanie Shuman, a Stop & Shop spokeswoman, said in an email she was unavailable for comment.

But a fair, new agreement must reflect the rapid changes and increasing competition that are reshaping the supermarket industry, the company said.

Employees in NY and New Jersey have a separate contract.

Richard Wright, a member of Local 328's negotiating committee, said his union's message to the company is: "We made you what you are, the number one leader in food sales in the Northeast". The unions represent members in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and CT. The Quincy-based company is a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize, a Dutch retail company.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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