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In a twist, union ad campaign praises employer, in this case Stop & Shop

The UFCW just gave Stop & Shop New England president Mark McGowan an early Christmas gift.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union that represents Stop & Shop employees has embarked on a TV ad campaign approaching six figures in cost to highlight Stop & Shop clerks and the service they bring to the community. This is the first time that the union has done something like this in the past decade, according to union spokeswoman Moira Bulloch.

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The first TV ad, designed by D.C. agency Trippi & Associates, was shot at a store in Shelton, Conn., and features workers from several supermarkets in Connecticut and Massachusetts, thanking loyal customers for their support. But the ad also essentially thanks Stop & Shop, owned by Dutch conglomerate Ahold, for providing workers with good wages and benefits.

Unions often take out TV ads in advance of contract negotiations – there are Stop & Shop contracts in the Boston area that are up at the end of February, Bulloch says – but those kinds of ads are rarely this harmonious.

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Instead, this campaign seems to take aim at the unnamed, nonunion competition – national chains such as Walmart Stores, Whole Foods, and Target and regional chains such as Wegmans, Hannaford Bros., and Roche Bros. The phrase “union family” comes up more than once in the first ad.

“Customers may not know that by choosing to shop at a union store, they are supporting good jobs for the community,” Bulloch says.

Stop & Shop seems to recognize the value in the union-funded ad campaign. Phil Tracey, a spokesman for Stop & Shop, praised the campaign, saying that the company is proud of its employees: “It’s our people who make the difference, during the holiday season and throughout the year.”

Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.
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