One of New England’s largest retailers—Ahold Delhaize-owned Stop & Shop—was forced to close last week due to a work stoppage ordered by the United Food & Commercial Workers (UCFW) union. More than 30,000 Stop & Shop employees walked off the job on Thursday, April 11, after contract negotiations between UFCW and Stop & Shop stalled.
According to the Boston Globe, these concerns regarded pensions and health benefits. Local UFCW chapters voted to authorize a strike in late-February, as we reported on our sister site, but the Boston Globe’s report suggests that striking employees only earned about the union’s directive to walk off the job with 15 minutes notice.
“We have temporarily closed some stores and locked the doors in order to secure these locations for the safety of our customers and associates,” Stefanie Shuman, Manager, External Communications & Community Relations, told the Boston Globe in an e-mail. “We have deployed corporate personnel as well as temporary replacement workers, and we are working hard to reopen stores as soon as possible and to minimize any disruptions for our customers.”
In a statement on its website, the retailer outlined its stance on the 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. Stop & Shop has contingency plans in place to minimize disruption,” the statement reads. “Stop & Shop remains ready and available to meet with the union locals at any time. We are committed to good faith bargaining and hope to reach new contracts as quickly as possible that both recognize and reward the great work of our associates and enable Stop & Shop to compete effectively in the rapidly changing New England grocery market.”
The company also outlined the following bullets, and issued a downloadable “fast facts”:
The leadership from UFCW locals also sent an email statement, reported on by USA Today.
“The men and women who make Stop & Shop a success have earned and deserve affordable health care, a good wage, and the ability to retire with dignity,” the statement proceeded. “They have earned and deserve a good job that allows them to do what they do best: provide the very best customer service for New England communities.”
The strike affects 240 of the Stop & Shop division’s 415 stores.
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