Stop & Shop and union officials keep negotiating on deal
Negotiations between Stop & Shop and its striking workers continued through Saturday into the evening following a bargaining session that lasted into Friday night.
The company said Saturday that while some stores affected by the strike in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island remain closed, the rest will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on Easter Sunday. The bakery, seafood, deli, and customer service counters will remain closed, and pharmacies and banks will be shut down for Easter.
The company also said it is working with children’s hospitals and other organizations to donate Easter baskets, toys, and candy to needy children in these three states.
The 10-day strike, involving 31,000 workers at 240 stores, has had a major effect on the Quincy-based chain, closing dozens of locations, delaying food from reaching stores, and keeping away loyal shoppers in large numbers.
The union said progress was being made but noted in a letter to its members Friday that “there are still significant items on the table that the company would like to take away.”
The letter also stated that some workers were getting scheduling notices from the company for next week but that, according to Stop & Shop, it was a computer error.
The workers are protesting proposed increases in health care costs, reductions in pension contributions for many nonvested part-time workers and new hires, and changes to Sunday and holiday time-and-a-half pay for current and new part-time employees.
In the first few days of the strike, visits to the grocery chain by regular customers dropped by 75 percent compared with the previous weekend, according to an analysis of mobile device data by Skyhook, a location technology and intelligence company based in Boston.
Grocery industry analysts estimated that Stop & Shop was losing $2 million a day in the week leading up to Easter and Passover, the biggest shopping week of the year so far.
The strike has drawn widespread attention from Democratic presidential hopefuls.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren brought doughnuts to Somerville workers, and former vice president Joe Biden spoke at a rally in Dorchester. On Friday, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., joined workers on the picket line in Malden, and Senator Amy Klobuchar visited the Somerville store.