Negotiations to continue Monday as Stop & Shop strike stretches on
Talks between Stop & Shop and unions representing thousands of striking workers will resume Monday after the two sides spent the weekend in negotiations, a union spokeswoman said Sunday night.
On Thursday, 31,000 members of unions with the United Food & Commercial Workers went on strike at 240 Stop & Shop stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Five UFCW unions represent the striking workers at those stores. The strike was called after negotiations hit an impasse over pension and health benefits.
Negotiators for the unions and the company were back at the table Sunday morning after conducting negotiations all day Saturday, said representatives for the two sides in separate statements to the Globe.
The talks are being conducted with the support of federal mediators, according to Jennifer Brogan, a spokeswoman for Stop & Shop.
Stop & Shop has said it had a contingency plan in place for stores where workers are striking. Stop & Shop, part of the same parent company that owns Hannaford and Food Lion, has more than 400 stores and 60,000 workers.
A UFCW spokeswoman said in a statement Sunday morning that all five unions involved in the strike are committed to reaching an agreement.
They “have remained at the negotiation table, in fact, they have never left,” she said. “We are pleased Stop & Shop returned to the table yesterday and look forward to continuing discussions.”
On Saturday, Stop & Shop president Mark McGowan said he and the “entire Stop & Shop team remain firmly committed to getting a fair contract in place for all of our associates in New England,” according to a statement released by the company.
“The UFCW’s leaders are pursuing a course in which no one wins — not our customers and not our associates — and we hope they will return to the table to reach a fair and responsible contract now.”
In the statement, McGowan said the company’s offer includes pay increases for all associates, health coverage with deductibles that would not change, increased contributions to employee pension plans, and no changes in paid time off or holidays for current associates.
McGowan said “the unions have proposed an “unsustainable” retail contract that “could ultimately lead to higher prices for consumers and a less successful future for our business.”