New Englanders who need to make a quick grocery run today will have to hit pause if they shop at Stop & Shop stores. Employees have staged a walkout due to a contract dispute.

Union representatives of the United Food & Commercial Workers handle contract negotiations for more than 30,000 Stop & Shop employees who have been working without a contract since February. The supermarket chain is the only one in New England with a union, with stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

At 1:00 pm on Thursday, workers were instructed to walked off the job. Customers found out when walking up to locked doors or told by employees that they had to hurry up and finish shopping. Word has spread about the closings via social media and news outlets.

Union reps contend that Stop & Shop wants to reduce benefits, change time-and-a-half policies, and cut PTO for new hires. They are also not happy with the idea of getting bonuses versus living wage increases.

The store posted its proposed changes on its website and says it wants to offer raises, health benefits, and a bump in pension contributions. A spokesperson for the company stated:

“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 more than 400 store locations spread throughout the Northeast. Those stores affected by the strike are either closed or being manned by a skeleton crew of managers. See footage of the strike in this video!

Are you a New Englander who shops at this store? Do you believe the strike will help negotiations for the union? Did you know Stop & Shop had union employees?

Source:

MassLive