Back to work: Stop and Shop workers end strike

By SHERIDAN ROY

STAFF WRITER

Stop & Shop officials announced on Easter Sunday evening that tentative agreements had been met with the United Food & Commercial Workers union, ending the union’s strike that began April 11, pending an upcoming vote in which the union will be asked to accept the agreement.

By Monday morning, stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island were open, staffed and running, albeit some limited selection as shelves were being restocked and certain specialties like the deli, seafood and bakery still catching up to speed.

“We are very pleased to announce Stop & Shop has reached fair new tentative agreements with UFCW Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445 and 1459, which represent our 31,000 associates in Mass., Conn. and Rhode Island,” said S&S officials on their website. “We’re also glad to have our associates return to work as the strike has ended.”

The tentative three year agreements, subject to ratification votes by members of each of the union locals, include increased pay for all associates, continued “excellent” health coverage for eligible associates, and ongoing defined benefit pensions for all eligible associates, according to S&S officials.

“Our associates’ top priority will be restocking our stores so we can return to taking care of our customers and communities and providing them with the service they deserve,” said S&S officials online. “We deeply appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers during this time, and we look forward to welcoming them back to Stop & Shop.”

UFCW in a press release said Sunday’s announcement was a “powerful victory for the 31,000 hardworking men and women of Stop & Shop who courageously stood up to fight for what all New Englanders want—good jobs, affordable health care, a better wage, and to be treated right by the company they made a success.”

Under the proposed contract, UFCW officials said union members will be able to focus on continuing to help customers in their communities to enjoy the “best shopping experience possible,” and to keep S&S the number one grocery store in New England.

“We are incredibly grateful to our customers and everyone who proudly stood together with us every day for a contract that invests in the communities we serve,” said UFCW officials, “and makes Stop & Shop a better place to work and a better place to shop.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz on Monday released a joint statement supporting UFCW union members.

“We are proud of the women and men of the UFCW who fought for what they deserve,” they said. “We know that the bargaining process is not easy, but this is a win for the workers, for management and for Stop & Shop customers.”

In the UFCW union’s process, local unions democratically vote on whether to accept the tentative agreement at a contract meeting. If they vote yes on the agreement, the protest will officially end. While UFCW waits for those meetings to be scheduled, members have returned to work.

This article was written with information available as of Tuesday, April 22.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.

Southington workers strike at Stop and Shop