Berkshire Community Rallies Behind Striking Stop & Shop Union Workers

Daniel Fowler
April 23, 2019

"We have kids. We don't have time for this", worker Carol Rodgers said while walking in a picket line outside the Stop & Shop in Dorchester's South Bay Center. On the busy highway out front, hundreds of cars honked, and drivers yelled, waved and raised fists in support of the strike. "It has an impact on our community as a whole, and it strikes me as a situation where the math doesn't add up and we have to ask more of this company to stand up, and stand with our workers when they don't".

Paul Batista, a butcher at the Stop & Shop on Everett Street in Allston, Mass., told WBUR this week that the union won't begin to make up for lost wages until the strike hits the two-week mark, and checks will be just $100 per week for full-time workers and $50 per week for part-timers. The rally was also attended by political organizations, including Workers World Party, Boston Democratic Socialists, the Jewish Labor Committee and Our Revolution Somerville.

Other workers tried to persuade one unhappy shopper to stay out of the store. "And you're already coming into it with this view of what Stop & Shop is doing to its employees - which kind of has a negative effect on your view of the store".

Jen Brogan, a Stop & Shop spokeswoman, released a statement Thursday saying, "Negotiations are continuing with the five UFCW local unions. And I think the UFCW is looking beyond Stop & Shop and maybe seeing this a moment where they can be an effective agent for all the workers of the industry, and perhaps this could be a calling card for organizing other markets".

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"Politicians need to be there and have their back", he said.

No changes to Sunday time-and-a-half premiums for current and future full-time associates. Our primary goal remains to get our associates back to work with a contract that has pay increases for all associates, continued health benefits for eligible associates and increased pension contributions. Stop & Shop says that it will have to lay down the increased health insurance costs with the staff in order to remain competitive.

As a strike by 31,000 workers approached the end of its first week at Stop & Shop, the retailer was taking a beating in the realm of popular opinion, a business loss estimated at $20 million a day, and growing concern that a continuation could impair the chain long after labor peace is reached.

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