Stop & Shop Employees Go on Strike

As of press time Tuesday evening, officials from Stop&Shop and UFCW Local 1445 had not come to an agreement and the strike that began last Thursday continues.

At that time,  employees of Stop&Shop, locally and around the state, walked off the job and onto the picket line after disagreements over pay, hours and benefits.

In Lynn, employees urged potential customers to find another store to shop. Some people crossed the picket line to go to the Citizens Bank branch inside Stop&Shop. 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 did.

In Revere at the Suffolk Downs Stop&Shop, every shopper who 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&Shop in Lynn.

At issue is “minimum” hours where someone could 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 and Sunday pay at time and a half, said Spring,

In Revere, Joe Victorian, a seafood manager at the Suffolk Downs Stop&Shop said, “it’s not right to try and take away our benefits. At the Squire Road Stop&Shop strikers congregated on the sidewalk instead of directly in front of the doors.

Gene Giacobbe, a business representative for Local 1445, stopped to check on members.

“We been at the table with Stop and Stop since January,” he said. “They’ve made record profits and his company is doing excellent. They want concessions. They basically tore up the contract of these hard workers. These people work hard, they are working 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&Shop employs more than 31,000 people in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

In a corporate statement, Stop&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.

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