Here are new developments in the Stop & Shop strike by union workers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island:
Former Vice President and potential 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden spoke Thursday, April 18 to support Stop & Shop workers at a Boston store in the neighborhood of Dorchester. For more, click here.
Biden expressed his support for Stop & Shop workers in an April 12 tweet: "In the last 5 years, @StopandShop's parent company has bought back billions of dollars in stock. Now they want to cut employee wages & benefits. This is wrong. I stand with the 31,000 @UFCW workers fighting for their healthcare."
Citing a "leading national retail consultant" New Haven Register reported that the strike is costing Stop & Shop $2 million weekly."
The Stop & Shop workers' strike timing couldn't be worse for the company, said the article.
Bert Flickinger, managing director of New York City-based Strategic Resource Group, told the newspaper Holy week (the week leading to Easter) and Passover week is busiest for supermarkets.
The loss estimate by Flickinger if a strike settlement does not come before the holidays would be 5 percent of the year's sales total and 4 percent of the year's profits, reported the New Haven Register.
Boston.com reported that Stop & Shop maintains its most recent proposal have wages and benefits higher than what is average for the retail food business, even with the cut.
The company argues these are needed changes so they can compete in the grocery retail industry which is mainly non-union, according to Boston.com.
Those leading the five local United Food and Commercial Workers unions that represent 31,000 Stop & Shop workers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are not convinced, said the report.
The issues of contention between the union and Stop & Shop are related to health care, wages, and pension said Boston.com.
The supermarket giant claims contributions by employees to insurance is out of step with rising costs of national health care, the report explains.
To remedy, Stop & Shop would increase employee contributions fo premiums about $100-$200 a year, according to Boston.com.
The amount could be more for some workers, an added $893 in more premiums in a three-year timeframe and $603 for an average employee in that timeframe, Boston.com reported.
There is also concern by workers that Stop & Shop wants to make a "spousal exclusion" in the health care plan, whereby spouses would not be eligible for coverage if they can get their own employer to provide the coverage.
Boston.com reported that Stop & Shop's latest offer would freeze (Sunday) premiums of Connecticut workers, while time-and-half pay on Sundays remains the law in Rhode Island.
While there are pay increases in the proposal, from $0.25 to $0.50 across employees, the amounts are too low base don the increasing cost of living, increased health care and payments to pensions for some of the employees, said Boston.com.
Stop & Shop in its proposing to keep the pension plan but cut benefits to employees that are not vested, according to the report.
Stop & Shop employees, who are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, began the strike April 11 protesting cuts to net pay and health care in the company's proposed contract.
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