Five UFCW locals in New England are currently involved in negotiations at Stop and Shop, as their contract expiration date, February 23rd, draws near. Nearly 36,000 members in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island could see their wages and working conditions affected once the contract expires. The hard-working baggers, cashiers, meat-cutters, and other employees of Stop and Shop are not about to let what they have worked for be reversed.
Stop and Shop supermarkets has now begun putting ads in local newspapers to hire temporary workers, or strikebreakers, in the event that a strike will take place- an insult to the company’s hardworking union members. These tactics are designed to scare and intimidate workers.
So far however, the difficult negotiations have yielded some results, and Stop and Shop has removed some its negative proposals from the bargaining table. Still in negotiation are issues surrounding holiday premiums, sick pay, and job transfers – all important issues to our members. On an even bigger scale though, are conflicts involving pensions, health and welfare, and wages, which will be discussed next week.
Stop and Shop is owned by the Royal Dutch company Ahold, which makes more than half of its profits in the U.S. That revenue came to more than 25.8 billion dollars in 2012, keeping it in competition with the likes of Walmart and Target. Yet, the company is greedy to expand those profit-margins further, by implementing low wages and taking away healthcare and other benefits from its Stop and Shop employees, as well as those who work for its many other grocery stores and businesses.
Although these contract negotiations are often long and difficult, the five locals have already made progress by standing together in solidarity. By working in unity, UFCW and Stop and Shop can come away with a deal that is fair for both parties.
Stay tuned to updates by visiting http://ufcwstopandshopnegotiations.com/