On March 23, over 100 Stop & Shop workers, customers and supporters gathered outside the Stop & Shop in Somerville, Massachusetts to demand a new, fair union contract. Workers from other locals came out to support, including National Association of Government Employees, Teamsters Local 25, United Auto Workers Local 1596 and Iron Workers Local 7. All Stop & Shop workers north of Quincy, Massachusetts up to the New Hampshire border are organized under UFCW Local 1445, and have been working under an expired contract since February, leading to over 10,000 workers authorizing a strike vote on February 24. President of UFCW Local 1445 Jeff Bollen told Liberation News:
“The company is playing hard ball this year in an economy that’s supposed to be booming. They’re asking for major concessions throughout the contract. They want to gut the contract. They want to gut health insurance. They want to gut pension. They’ve offered nothing in the way of wages … They want to bring these people down at a time when they’re making record profits … We’re asking to protect them. We want to protect our health insurance. We have a good plan, small copays, good coverages. We have a defined benefit pension, which you don’t see these days anymore … but the company can well afford it, and they want to cut that down. So we can’t allow that.”
Bollen spoke further about the company’s push towards automation, explaining how more than 3,000 workers have been replaced — with tactics such as self check-out machines and shelf-scanning robots — over the past five years.
“We need them [the workers]. Without them, how can we shop?” customer and former Stop & Stop employee Izabel Depina told Liberation News, “They’re the face of the company, the face of the brand, so they need to be treated right.”
To help support the workers fighting for a fair contract at Stop & Shop, please sign this petition.