More than 30,000 Stop & Shop Workers Strike, Walk Off Jobs
- by Robert Schaulis
PROVIDENCE, RI - More than 30,000 employees of the Ahold Delhaize-owned Stop & Shop banner walked off the job this Thursday afternoon, April 11, forcing one of New England’s largest retailers to temporarily close several locations. The United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union called for a work stoppage at 1 p.m. after contract negotiations stalled over concerns about pension and health benefits, according to the Boston Globe.
Local UFCW chapters voted to authorize a strike in late-February, but the Boston Globe’s report suggests that striking employees only learned about the union’s directive to walk off the job with 15 minutes notice.
“We have temporarily closed some stores and locked the doors in order to secure these locations for the safety of our customers and associates,” Stefanie Shuman, Manager, External Communications & Community Relations, told the Boston Globe in an e-mail. “We have deployed corporate personnel as well as temporary replacement workers, and we are working hard to reopen stores as soon as possible and to minimize any disruptions for our customers.”
The retailer outlined its stance on the strike in an update on its website.
“Given that negotiations with assistance of the federal mediators are continuing, we are disappointed that the UFCW chose to order a work stoppage in an attempt to disrupt service at our stores. Stop & Shop has contingency plans in place to minimize disruption,” the statement reads. “Stop & Shop remains ready and available to meet with the union locals at any time. We are committed to good faith bargaining and hope to reach new contracts as quickly as possible that both recognize and reward the great work of our associates and enable Stop & Shop to compete effectively in the rapidly changing New England grocery market.”
The company also outlined the following bullets, and issued a downloadable “fast facts”:
- Stop & Shop is offering pay increases for all associates
- Stop & Shop continues to offer excellent health care coverage
- Stop & Shop continues to offer a defined benefit pension for all associates
- No changes in paid time off or holidays for current associates
The leadership from UFCW locals also sent an email statement, reported on by USA Today.
“The men and women who make Stop & Shop a success have earned and deserve affordable health care, a good wage, and the ability to retire with dignity,” the statement proceeded. “They have earned and deserve a good job that allows them to do what they do best: provide the very best customer service for New England communities.”
The strike affects 240 of the Stop & Shop division’s 415 stores.