On Friday, Stop & Shop employees across New England hit the picket line for the second day calling for a new contract and concessions at the bargaining table from the company. At issue are wages and benefits.
Last month, union workers voted to authorize a strike after negotiations broke down. At 1 p.m. Thursday, workers walked off the job at stores in New Britain, Berlin, Newington and Bristol as well as other locations throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Connecticut Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz announced on Friday that they would meet with striking workers in Connecticut.
Some Stop & Shop stores closed Thursday due to the walkout and reopened Friday morning. But striking workers carrying signs reading “Don’t Cross the Line” greeted customers who tried to enter.
Stop & Shop pharmacies and bank branches inside the stores are not impacted by the strike.
Stop & Shop issued a statement Thursday, saying the company is disappointed in the workers’ decision to strike.
“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,” the statement said. “Stop & Shop has contingency plans in place to minimize disruption.”
Stop & Shop has been owned by the Dutch supermarket operator Ahold Delhaize since 1995. Workers have not gone on strike since 1988. Ahold last year reported earning a $2.1 billion profit, according to the UFCW.
The Herald is asking Stop & Shop customers on it’s Facebook page if they plan to cross the picket line this weekend to shop, or choose another grocery store.
Dorotka Zyla wrote: “I will not cross the picket line. Union. I’ll shop at Sam’s Club and PriceRite and my favorite, Roly Poly.”
Vanessa Jefferys wrote: “I won’t cross the line. I might go to Big Y or ShopRite.”
Larry Routhier wrote: “I just went to pick up a prescription. I will not cross to get groceries. I will go to Big Y instead.”
While the majority of respondents sided with striking workers, a few said they would continue to shop at Stop & Shop including Rob Wallace, who wrote: “crossed and will keep crossing.”
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