Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar join Stop & Shop strikers
MALDEN — The road to the White House apparently is taking a detour through a Stop & Shop parking lot near you.
Two Democratic presidential candidates, South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar, made stops at a picket line of striking Shop & Shop workers Friday, following visits in recent days by former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Buttigieg joined striking Stop & Shop workers in Malden around noon Friday, praising the stance by the union representing Stop & Shop workers, which struck over company proposals to increase their increased health care contribution, cut pension contributions, and change overtime pay.
The strike “is sending a message that’s going to ripple out far beyond New England, and the message is that companies have to do right by their workers,” Buttigieg said to the crowd of striking workers.
The crowd of workers, part of a strike at stores throughout New England that began last Thursday, stood on a grassy incline, buffeted by winds that grew strong enough to pull signs out of their hands.
Michael Brown, who has worked for Stop & Shop for 12 years, said he hadn’t followed Buttigieg in the past, but said he was impressed with what he saw.
“It was great,” Brown said. “It makes me want to keep an eye on him. And I’ll remember him now.”
44-year-old Armand Couture, who has worked at Stop & Shop for 30 years, said seeing support from political officials such as Buttigieg and Biden has buoyed morale among striking workers.
“Yesterday, I felt really, really down,” Couture said. “And the news crew and the politician coming out definitely lifted some spirits.”
Meanwhile, Klobuchar tweeted a photo of herself Friday alongside about a dozen workers at a Stop & Shop in Somerville.
“I stand in solidarity with the Stop & Shop workers who are asking for fair wages and compensation,” she wrote.
The union’s picket line is suddenly a popular stop for 2020 hopefuls and other politicians. Warren and Senator Edward Markey both addressed rallies last week, and Biden spoke Thursday at a Stop & Shop store in Dorchester.
Some 31,000 Stop & Shop workers, many of them part-time, went on strike last week after months of negotiations between the United Food & Commercial Workers union and the company failed to reach a new contract agreement.