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”