After contract expiration, Stop and Shop workers mull strike
A union representing workers at Stop & Shop Supermarket has voted to authorize a strike, and the others — including the two representing Connecticut employees — might follow suit in the coming days.
The contract between Stop & Shop and five United Food and Commercial Workers local unions expired at midnight Saturday. Those unions include UFCW Local 371 in Westport and UFCW Local 919 in Farmington. In a joint statement sent out Sunday, the five presidents of those locals expressed disappointment that no new contract agreement had been reached.
“Stop & Shop has known for the past three years that our contract was sent to expire on (Saturday). But because of their continued corporate greed throughout these negotiations, Stop & Shop employees and customers now find themselves in a position where job actions may take place.
On Sunday afternoon, UFCW Local 1445 in Boston voted “overwhelmingly” to authorize a strike, said Amy Ritter, UFCW spokeswoman. This allows the call for a strike of Stop & Shop employees at any time. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean a strike will take place.
She said the other four unions, including those in Connecticut are “in discussion right now about hosting own strike authorization votes.” Ritter said discussion is ongoing and she will probably have a better idea about the possibility of future votes later in the week.
Meanwhile, Stop & Shop posted on its web page that it was aware of the strike authorization vote and that negotiations will continue this week.
“We are continuing to negotiate in good faith and remain committed to reaching a resolution as quickly as possible,” the statement reads.
The statement also says that Stop & Shop associates are “among the highest paid food retail workers in the region, and we are working hard to reach strong new contracts that will continue to provide Stop & Shop associates with competitive wages and affordable health care for eligible associates.”
Representatives of the chain also claim that they have committed up to $2 billion to upgrade stores over the next several years.
However, the release from the union states that “despite being the number one supermarket operator in New England ... Stop & Shop negotiators have only proposed cuts to workers benefits and take-home pay while increasing automation that will cause job loss.”