Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) brings coffee and donuts to striking Stop & Shop workers in Somerville, Mass. as she joins the picket line 📷: @scotteisenphoto #StopandShopStrike pic.twitter.com/uSuFXSO5we
— Getty Images News (@GettyImagesNews) April 12, 2019
Stop and Shop workers across New England went on strike at 1:15p Thursday (11-Apr-2019). The workers are represented by United Food & Commercial workers Locals 1445, 328, 371, 919, and 1459. Today (Friday), the strike continues (emphasis mine):
Thousands of Stop & Shop workers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut remain on strike Friday, a day after walking out amid failed contract negotiations between their union and the company. The workers, represented by the United Food & Commercial Workers Locals 1445, 328, 371, 919 and 1459, walked off the job around 1:15 p.m. Thursday. Customers were asked to leave their groceries behind and leave the stores.
The walkouts affected 134 stores in Massachusetts, 92 in Connecticut and 27 in Rhode Island. A Stop & Shop spokesperson said in an email Friday the “majority” of its stores in Massachusetts will remain open. Banks and pharmacies will also be open even if the supermarket is closed; however, all gas stations will be closed.
Workers’ previous contract expired in February. At the center of negotiations was time-and-a-half pay for Sundays and holidays, which the union said the company was trying to strip away.
Stop & Shop said at the time the agreement had to be in line with industry changes. With minimum wages gradually increasing each year until it reaches $15 an hour, Massachusetts is in the process of phasing out time-and-a-half pay for Sundays and holidays.
Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren Joined striking workers in Somerville this morning:
“These giant companies think they can knock unions back,” she said. “Unions are here to stay because when you’re fighting for your family, you stay in the fight until you win.”
Warren credited unions with being the foundation of the country’s middle class, declaring, “unions will rebuild America’s middle class.”
I encourage each and every one of us to follow Ms. Warren’s example and show up to support these striking workers. A backroom deal made by legislators as part of a minimum wage package is one thing. The attempt by an employer to use that deal as an excuse for turning the screws on workers in contract negotiations is something else again.
These union workers need our support. They need us to help them make Stop & Shop understand that workers matter.
It is worth noting that Stop & Shop is owned by Ahold-Delhaize, a huge international conglomerate. The same company also operates Hannaford and Peapod in New England.
This is an excellent time to consider a boycott of all of these stores, as well as contacting management of all three (Stop & Shop, Hannaford, and Peapod) to express support for these striking workers.