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Norwalk Stop & Shop workers go on strike

A photo posted Friday on Facebook by State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25). “The #StopandShop parking lot virtually empty today on Main Ave in Norwalk. Lots of customers leaving in solidarity once they saw strike signs,” Duff wrote.

Updated,  7 p.m.: Photo swapped; 1:39 p.m: Stop & Shop statement; 10:17 a.m.: Information added.

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk Stop & Shop workers joined a New England-area strike Thursday.

“Stop & Shop is not being too nice,” a worker told a woman approaching the store Thursday afternoon.  Striking employees asked approaching customers to shop elsewhere, and many agreed.  Some shoppers were told that they could enter the store and get groceries, but nobody would be inside to help them.

Video by Harold Cobin at end of story

The strike began at 1 p.m., workers said. “Hopefully this is short-lived,” one said.

The Connecticut AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) states that 31,000 Stop & Shop workers across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island have gone on strike.

“Management at Stop & Shop presented their “final offer” to their workers, which included significant cuts to healthcare, massive increases (over 100% in some cases) to workers’ health care premiums, and replacing wage increases with so-called bonuses,” the AFL-CIO wrote at 1:44 p.m. “All in all, this represents a massive step backwards with many workers facing reduced weekly earnings if they agreed to their ‘final offer’.”

“This is not the time to ask for concessions,” the union said, noting that Stop & Shop’s parent company reported more than $2 billion in profits last year.

The contract between Stop & Shop and five United Food and Commercial Workers local unions expired on Feb. 25, the CT Post reports.

NancyOnNorwalk was not able to find any statement Thursday from Stop & Shop or parent company Ahold Delhaize regarding the strike or the negotiations. Stop & Shop released a statement Friday, saying that it is “working hard on a fair new contract with the five UFCW New England-area local unions.”

Stop & Shop is offering a wage package that “would make this among the best UFCW retail contracts in the country” and allows associates to keep their premiums for working on Sunday, the statement says. Employees would pay $4 a week for health insurance instead of $2 a week, and that is well below the national average, according to Stop & Shop.

 

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) on Thursday evening tweeted:

“I stand in solidarity with @UFCW workers who are on strike at #StopandShop. Keep fighting for better wages, affordable healthcare and a fair contract. We support you, your families and will be shopping elsewhere until there is an agreement. @AFLCIO @ConnAFLCIO”

9 comments

jo bennett April 12, 2019 at 7:33 am

It’s great to see these employees organizing. I’ve been shopping at the Main Avenue store for almost 20 years, and some wonderful people have been longtime workers there. Hope this comes to a good resolution for them soon.

Interested Observer April 12, 2019 at 11:15 am

I’m going to miss shopping there. Hope management comes to their senses soon so I can go back.

Kevin Kane April 12, 2019 at 1:25 pm

The 1 sided bias in reporting is absolutely astounding…unbelievable.

Pro-choice, right?
The open market, what a beautiful thing: workers are free to come and go, they can strike, join another firm, work wherever and whenever, take your pick.
The open market, what a beautiful thing: shoppers are free to come and go, I can stop or I can shop, buy from wherever and at whatever price sellers and buyers agree is the price

Readers (and viewers) can find the other side of the story from some very, very brief and basic searches, see below.
My favorite and why I might not buy my grapes etc. at Stop and Shop? This gem from below: Can you imagine having an annual deductible of $200 – $300? That is insanely low. Go back and read that. Anyone else ever seen it THAT LOW?! Would be curious to see the full plan including premium.

How about $7 per hour strike pay to not work vs. $12 per hour to work?! Huh? I guess the union dues are finally coming back to help the worker who chose to strike.

https://stopandshop.com/labor/2019/#/labor/news
•   Across-the-board pay increases for all associates – no one’s pay would be cut;
•   Continued “Gold Level” health care benefits for eligible associates – at a fraction of what employees at other retail companies pay and with no changes to already unusually low deductibles; and
•   Increased company contributions to the UFCW’s defined benefit pension fund for current full- and vested part-time associates – a rare benefit in the New England food retail industry.

https://www.courant.com/business/hc-biz-stop-and-shop-strike-20190411-gyulf5ylpjd7lei76b63vcurgm-story.html

Most Stop & Shop health care plans have an annual deductible of $200 or $300, according to the company. The national average annual deductible for individual coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, is $1,500. While keeping the low deductibles the same, the company wants employees to pay a higher percentage of the cost of their health insurance.

Another point of contention is Sunday premium pay. All employees currently receive time-and-a-half pay for working on Sunday, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the week. The company is seeking to change that for part-time workers, freezing the pay for current part-time employees and reducing it to a maximum of $2 an hour extra for new part-time hires.

New hires would also get fewer paid holidays than current employees, who receive 10

The proposed contract also includes wage increases.

Stop & Shop says it needs to reduce costs to remain competitive. As one of the few remaining union grocers in New England, its labor costs are significantly higher than its competitors, the company says. Unlike other grocers, the company offers a defined benefit pension, Stop & Shop says. And its hourly wages are higher than competitors, the company says.

Jonathan Mendez, 28, says his $7 an hour strike pay is a strain compared to his regular wages of $12.

US doing well, NOI $1.B but S&S is only 21% of Aholds 1961 stores
The company’s most recent offer earlier this week — a $75,000 buyout for more senior unionized workers 

From

https://www.winsightgrocerybusiness.com/retailers/new-england-stop-shop-workers-call-strike

Bob Welsh April 12, 2019 at 11:53 pm

@Kevin

The Stop & Shop statement you linked to was issued Friday. This story was written on Thursday. Nancy added the grocer’s statement today.

Tysen Canevari April 13, 2019 at 7:03 am

i find it amazing they can stand at the front door and harass people that need to shop. They are protesting bullying. Is this any different?

Otto Delupe April 13, 2019 at 11:07 pm

@Ron Morris- I guess you dont need any new tires at like say Townfair Tires cause your $20 an hour cost would be passed right on you.

Holden Caulfield April 15, 2019 at 5:09 pm

Is this the same Kevin Kane from the Norwalk Bike / Walk Gestapo? That’s a good look for you, dude. Rail against your neighbor’s desire to earn a decent living to support a family and frolic around wasting taxpayer funds by throwing up signs all over town. Let me guess your bike cost more than what an average Stop & Shop employee earns in a few months. And that’s fair right because you had the same equal opportunity and upbringing as everyone else in life, especially those working at the place where you purchase groceries?

James April 18, 2019 at 7:36 am

Tysen, there hasn’t been any bullying. All the workers are asking is to support the strike and shop elsewhere. These are the workers that keep this store running smoothly day in and day out. You wouldn’t be able to purchase anything here without these hard working union employees. Not asking for much. Just a fair contract going forward and not a settlement with a loss of wages and health benefits. A company that profits 2 billion dollars annually is showing what they think of their employees with these new contract proposals.

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