As of press time Wednesday evening, officials from Stop & Shop and UFCW Local 1445 had not come to an agreement and the strike that began last Thursday continues.
Last Thursday afternoon employees of Stop and Shop, locally and around the state, walked off the job and on to the picket line after disagreements over pay, hours and benefits.
A federal mediator had come in for a week and the strike is a result of those meetings. Contract negotiations have been going on since January.
In Lynn employees urged potential customers to find another store to shop at. Some people crossed the picket line to go to the Citizens Bank branch inside Stop and Shops. One lady said she just needed milk.
Potential customers came up to the door only to be told the store was closed and workers were on strike. Some turned away. In Lynn one woman walked up to the doors and the doors did not open automatically. But doors on the other side of the building did. All three stores also house a Citizens Bank branch and pharmacy.
In Revere at the Suffolk Downs Stop and Shop, every shopper that turned away was cheered by the strikers.
“We don’t want to be striking we prefer to be inside,” said Mel Spring, a meat manager for Stop and Shop in Lynn.
At issue is “minimum” hours where someone will be assigned only eight hours in a week. They are guaranteed a minimum of 15 hours through the union. Big sticking points also include health care and the pensions, Sunday time-and-a half day, said Spring,
In Revere, Joe Victorian, a seafood manager at the Suffolk Downs Stop and Shop said, “It’s not right to try and take away our benefits.” At the Squire Road Stop and Shop strikers congregated on the sidewalk instead of directly in front of the doors.
“We been at the table with Stop and Stop since January,” said Gene Giacobbe, a business rep for Local 1445. “They’ve made record profits, and this company is doing excellent. They want concessions. They basically tore up the contract of these hard workers. These people work hard, they work less and less hours. They need a good contract.”
The last time this union held a strike was in 1985, but it only lasted for a couple of hours. “We’re dealing with a different company right now,” Giacobbe said.
Stop and Shop employs more than 31,000 people in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
In a corporate statement Stop and Shop said it proposed a “good and reasonable” offer to the local unions including pay increases, continued health care benefits and increased company contributions to the pension plan.