Stop & Shop workers in southern New England who are unhappy with how union contract negotiations are going walked off the job on Thursday afternoon.
Here are the statements released by each side.
The following is a statement from United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1445, as sent to the Globe Thursday afternoon.
“Today, at 1:15 pm, the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1445 members who work at Stop & Shop will be walking off their job. At the same time, UFCW Members at Locals 328, 371, 919, and 1459 will be walking off their jobs at Stop & Shop stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
. . .
UFCW Locals representing 31,000 Stop & Shop workers in New England have been negotiating a new contract with Stop & Shop representatives since February 14th.
Stop & Shop’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize, saw over $2 billion in profit last year and got a US tax cut of $225 million in 2017. The company is claiming the proposed cuts are necessary but is unlawfully refusing to provide financial information to verify that claim.
While Stop & Shop continues to propose drastically cutting worker benefits, Ahold shareholders voted on April 10 to give themselves an 11.1 percent raise in dividends over last year. The expected payout will be on April 25 for around $880 million.
UFCW Local 1445 represents nearly 15,000 workers in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. Including nearly 10,000 members who work at Stop & Shop.”
The following is a video statement from Jeff Bollen, president of UFCW Local 1445, which was posted online on Thursday.
Stop & Shop company officials
The following is a statement from Stop & Shop company representatives, as sent to the Globe Thursday afternoon.
“Given that negotiations with assistance of the federal mediators are continuing, we are disappointed that the UFCW chose to order a work stoppage in an attempt to disrupt service at our stores. Stop & Shop has contingency plans in place to minimize disruption.
Stop & Shop has proposed a good and reasonable offer to our union locals that includes:
▪ Across-the-board pay increases for all associates – no one’s pay would be cut;
▪ Continued “Gold Level” health care benefits for eligible associates – at a fraction of what employees at other retail companies pay and with no changes to already unusually low deductibles; and
▪ Increased company contributions to the UFCW’s defined benefit pension fund for current full- and vested part-time associates – a rare benefit in the New England food retail industry.
Additionally, this morning the company made several suggestions to the federal mediators to encourage further bargaining. The mediators gave those proposals to the Locals late in the morning. The Locals provided no counter proposals to the mediators and simply stated they were proceeding with their plans.
In contrast to the company’s proposal which is better than most recent UFCW contract settlements and responsive to heavy non-union competition, the unions proposed a contract that would increase the company’s costs. This would make our company less competitive in the mostly non-union New England food retail marketplace.
Stop & Shop remains ready and available to meet with the union locals at any time. We are committed to good faith bargaining and hope to reach new contracts as quickly as possible that both recognize and reward the great work of our associates and enable Stop & Shop to compete effectively in the rapidly changing New England grocery market.
For more information, we encourage you to visit our website at https://www.stopandshop.com/labor-news.”