Strike of 31,000 New England Stop & Shop workers in sixth day
17 April 2019
The strike by 31,000 Stop & Shop workers at more than 240 supermarkets in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island is in its sixth day. The workers walked off the job Thursday after negotiations with management broke down over proposals from the company attacking workers’ wages, health insurance and pension benefits.
Stop & Shop workers have not been on strike in 30 years, and their strike is the largest in the retail industry since 2003.
The United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) was forced to call the strike after Stop & Shop management refused to budge on demands that would make deep inroads into workers’ pay and benefits for both present and future full- and part-time workers. The five UFCW locals had voted overwhelmingly to authorize strike action after their contract expired February 23. Negotiations are continuing between the UFCW and Shop & Shop with a federal mediator.
Stop & Shop is owned by billion-dollar Dutch-owned company Royal Ahold Delhaize NV, which also owns Food Lion, Hannaford and other grocery chains and is the third largest supermarket owner in the US. Despite reporting profits of more than $2 billion last year and spending $4 billion in stock buybacks since 2017, the multinational company is seeking to drive down the wages and benefits of Stop & Shop workers to those at nonunion grocers such as Market Basket, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and big-box stores such as BJ’s, Walmart and Costco.
The company is seeking to drive a wedge between full- and part-time workers, and workers with higher seniority, by offering smaller wage increases for part-time workers and capping wage…