Yesterday, April 15, 2019, negotiations resumed between Stop & Shop and unions representing 31,000 worker members and 241 stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. According to the Boston Globe, both parties spent the entirety of the weekend in talks that have yet to reach any breakthrough. At the time of publication, the strike has been ongoing for five days.
“The entire Stop & Shop team remains firmly committed to getting a fair contract in place for all of our associates in New England,” Mark McGowan, Stop & Shop’s President, said in a company statement. “The UFCW’s leaders are pursuing a course in which no one wins—not our customers and not our associates—and we hope they will return to the table to reach a fair and responsible contract now.”
In the statement, McGowan outlined pay increases, health coverage with deductibles, employee pension plans, and paid time off and holidays for current associates—all of which are included in Stop & Shop’s offer. But, despite this offer, an agreement has still not been reached.
The New York Times reported that some are worried price increases could be a part of Stop & Shop's offer. But Thomas Kochan, a Director of the M.I.T. Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research, asserted that price increases do not need to occur.
“It is not automatic that it has to go into price increases,” he said. “They have to find ways to have better customer service to attract more customers...They are unionized and an older company that doesn’t have as strong a reputation for great customer service."
Over the weekend, the unions gained the support of quite a few Democratic politicians, according to the Hartford Courant, including U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, and former-Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.
In a statement dated Sunday morning, a UFCW spokeswoman asserted that all five unions involved are committed to reaching an agreement. “[They] have remained at the negotiation table, in fact, they have never left,” she said, according to the Boston Globe. “We are pleased Stop & Shop returned to the table yesterday and look forward to continuing discussions.”
Stop & Shop and the unions have been negotiating a new contract since mid-January. Will this week be the week a definitive agreement is reached? Deli Market News will continue to keep you in the loop on all updates.