Eleven days after Stop & Shop workers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island went on strike and shuttered outlets along the Eastern seaboard — including on Whalley Avenue — the grocery chain has come to an agreement with its employees.
The 31,000 workers who participated in the strike are represented by five local unions under the umbrella organization United Food & Commercial Workers, or UFCW. The agreements between these local unions and the supermarket are now subject to a ratification vote by each of the individual unions. According to The Boston Globe, the agreements include increased pay, continued health coverage and continued defined benefit pension benefits for all eligible associates.
“We are very pleased to announce Stop & Shop has reached fair new tentative agreements with UFCW Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445 and 1459, which represent our 31,000 associates in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island,” Stop & Shop said in a statement. “We’re also glad to have our associates return to work as the strike has ended.”
The United Food & Commercial Workers — the union to which most Stop & Shop employees belong — said that the conclusion is a “powerful victory for the 31,000 hardworking men and women of Stop & Shop who courageously stood up to fight for what all New Englanders want — good jobs, affordable health care, a better wage and to be treated right by the company they made a success.”
The union added that it was “incredibly grateful” to its customers and everyone involved in the strike.
In an April 12 press release, the UFCW said that over 30,000 of its members walked off their jobs April 11 because cashiers were being replaced with self-serve checkout machines and employees suffered cuts to their health care benefits and take home pay.
“The hard-working men and women at over 240 stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are standing together to tell Stop & Shop that it is time to do the right thing,” the UFCW said in the press release. “What Stop & Shop workers don’t deserve and what no one who works hard in New England deserves are unreasonable cuts while the company they work so hard for makes billions of dollars in profit.”
Both state and city officials showed solidarity with the striking workers. Mayor Toni Harp, Sen. Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73, D-Conn., and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz ’83 were among those who visited various strikes. Mayoral candidates, including Urn Pendragon and Justin Elicker, were also present. In addition, on April 18, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke at a rally in support of UFCW Stop & Shop employees.
Before the agreement was reached, in an April 12 press release, Mark McGowan, the president of Stop & Shop, said that the supermarket chain has remained committed to reaching a fair, new contract with its employees. At the time, he noted that he would continue to support the company’s current proposal.
“Our offer provides pay increases for all associates, excellent health coverage with deductibles that would not change, increased contributions to the employee pension plans and no changes in paid time off or holidays for current associates,” McGowan said in the press release.
There are over 400 Stop & Shop locations in the Northeast.
Angela Xiao | firstname.lastname@example.org .