Stop & Shop strike enters 7th day as talks drag on

Updated 11:20 am EDT, Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Negotiations continue Wednesday – the seventh day of a strike by Stop & Shop workers.

Talks on Tuesday between the grocery giant and with five union affiliates of the United Food & Commercial Workers produced no agreement.

On Thursday, striking workers will receive some high-profile support from former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden will speak at a rally at a Stop & Shop in Dorchester, Mass. in support of the 31,000 Stop & workers who walked off their jobs on April 11.

The president of the Farmington-based UFCW Local 919 addressed union members Tuesday from the negotiating table in Providence, R.I., estimating Stop & Shop’s revenue losses at $20 million a day since the strike began.

Stop & Shop posted on its web site “Our goal remains the same – reaching a fair new agreement and returning our focus to doing what we do best – taking care of our customers.

“Our defined benefit pension plan for all union associates – 100 percent funded by the company – is an important part of these negotiations. Given misunderstandings about this topic, we want to provide an overview of the facts. Please see the overview summary or click here for a downloadable version.”

Meanwhile, the unions lashed out at Stop & Shop’s advertisement and its latest proposals.

“Stop & Shop can buy as many ads as they want, but they can’t change the facts,” the five United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Unions (328, 371, 1445, 1459, and 919) said in a statement.

“Stop & Shop’s latest proposal will drastically increase out-of-pocket health care costs, kick approximately 1,000 employees’ spouses off of their health care plan, and make it more challenging for 31,000 people to provide for themselves and their families. If the company’s most recent offer becomes a reality, every working family, neighborhood, consumer, and community will be hurt.

“We are amazed at the ever-increasing community support and appreciate all that New England is doing to help us fight for better jobs and better health care.”

Stop & Shop’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize, saw over $2 billion in profits last year and received a U.S. 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 Delhaize shareholders voted on April 10 to give themselves an 11.1 percent raise in dividends over the last year. The expected payout will be on April 25 for around $880 million.

The unions claimed Stop & Shop’s latest latest proposal included the following drastic cuts:

Requiring the average full-time employee to pay an additional $893 in weekly health care premiums over three years and the average part-time employee with employee-only coverage to pay an additional $603 in weekly health care premiums over three years.

Reducing the monthly pension benefit for many newly hired full-time employees by 32 percent and reducing the monthly pension benefit for many part-time employees by up to 72.2 percent.

Kicking off approximately 1,000 employees’ spouses from their family health care plan if the spouse is offered health care coverage by their employer, regardless of cost or quality of care.

Phasing out time-and-a-half pay on Sundays and holidays for current part-time workers and eliminating it entirely for new, part-time (approxmately 75 percent of Stop & Shop’s workforce is part-time), the union claimed.