Hundreds of Stop & Shop employees in Connecticut voted unanimously to go on strike as they continue contract negotiations.
More than 600 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 371 union in Westport authorized the strike, which they’ve been threatening since their contract with the retailer expired last month. The declaration came a day before negotiations were scheduled to resume between the two sides.
The vote means a strike may be called at any time, but doesn't mean a strike will definitely happen.
Other area unions, including the Local 1459, 919 and 328, will meet over the weekend to discuss
The negotiations largely hinge on health insurance, pensions, vacation time and other benefits, with the union claiming that Stop & Shop is “looking to degrade the quality of life” of their employees.
Stop & Shop has countered by saying that its proposals “would ensure full-time associates continue to be among the highest paid food retail workers in the region.”
“A fair, new agreement also must reflect the rapid changes and increasing competition that are reshaping our industry," a Stop & Shop spokesman stated. "Any new contract must ensure that Stop & Shop can continue to offer customers the service, selection and value they expect.
“Full-time Stop & Shop associates are among the highest paid food retail workers in the region,” the company added. “Stop & Shop has committed up to $2 billion to upgrade our stores over the next several years to better serve our customers and communities as we also lower prices and expand opportunities for our associates.”
Local unions have expressed their support for members of the 371 following the announcement of the strike authorization.
“The members of the UAW Local 2121 will proudly support our brothers and sisters of UFCW Local 371,” they wrote in a statement. “I encourage all of our 1,300 members to let the workers and their managers know at all Stop & Shops in Connecticut that you will not cross their picket lines. SOLIDARITY!”
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