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Workers Worry About Paying Bills As Stop & Shop Strike Hits Day Six

Store employees, Sabino Hernandez, Wilson Segarra, Manuel Pauta hold signs outside Stop & Shop, located at 44 Lake Ave. Ext. in Danbury on Tuesday morning, April 16, day six of the workers' strike.
Store employees, Sabino Hernandez, Wilson Segarra, Manuel Pauta hold signs outside Stop & Shop, located at 44 Lake Ave. Ext. in Danbury on Tuesday morning, April 16, day six of the workers' strike. Photo Credit: Donna Christopher

Customers were not seen entering the Stop & Shop store at 44 Lake Ave. Ext. in Danbury, where about 15 store employees held signs and stood in the sunlight out front to stay warm on a breezy 50-degree morning Tuesday, April 16, day six of the workers' strike in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

One of the striking workers, Sabino Hernandez, confirmed this.

"They support us," he said, pointing to a table, where boxes of Dunkin' coffee and other food items had been dropped off since early morning from members of the public.

"Managers are running the store," Hernandez told Daily Voice.

Fellow striker Wilson Segarra said he worried about how he'll pay his family's expenses since going almost a week without wages.

"I pay a lot of bills and taxes. It's expensive to live here," said the Danbury father of three. "I have two maybe three days pay coming only. I have to get another job now."

At Trader Joe's on Mill Plain Road two miles away, the store managers could not comment on whether or not shoppers not crossing Stop & Shop picket lines were shopping at there store more since the strike began April 11.

But one of the shoppers, New Milford resident Dorothy Shackelford said she has sought alternatives to support the Stop & Shop strikers.

"The other day I shopped at the Big Y and today it's Trader Joe's," she said. "I won't cross the picket line because I support the workers. They need to be paid a fair wage. I think it's ridiculous that some of them have to work two jobs just to make ends meet."

Outside Stop & Shop in Danbury at around 9:30 a.m., Jody Barr, the executive director of Council 4 American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employers, AFL-CIO, based in New Britain walked over to shake the hands of store employees on strike.

"We're here to support them," Barr said. "We want the negotiations to come to a conclusion so they can go back to work. We represent 30,000 members including these workers here. We donated $2,500 to a strike fund for them. We will continue to make a $500 donation every week as the strike continues.

State. Sen. Julie Kushner, D-Danbury who lives nearby in Danbury also stopped there around the same time. "This is the store I shop in. Whats really nice is seeing the whole community say, 'Enough is enough. These are courageous workers."

The company hasn't updated its April 15 post on its website that "Providing excellent health care for eligible associates continues to be an important part of our offer" and that negotiations on new contracts for the company's 31,000 associates in New England continued Monday with the support of federal mediators.

Meanwhile, Tuesday morning, April 16, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) issued a release that he will meet with Stop & Shop workers in Dayville and Groton who are striking to demand that Stop & Shop provide affordable healthcare and fair compensation.

Tuesday, April 16 Stop & Shop posted on their website. "As you may already know, some of our store Associates in MA, RI, and CT are currently on strike, so it’s not "business as usual" at Stop & Shop today. Our NJ and NY stores are not affected."

"We are committed to resolving our labor negotiations as quickly as possible so that our employees can return to their jobs and we can get back to serving you and the community," said the post.

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