UPDATE — Stop & Shop remains closed, no timetable to open
UPDATE 9:21 a.m. Friday —While some Stop & Shop locations have reopened for limited shopping, the Trumbull location remains closed with no timetable on reopening. An employee who answered the phone in the store's management office confirmed the pharmacy and bank branch inside the store were both open.
ORIGINAL STORY — Workers with the Trumbull Stop & Shop's two labor unions walked off the job at 1 p.m. Thursday, forcing the store to close. The unions had voted to authorize a strike last month. The strike affects about 31,000 workers across New England, according to union officials.
Workers said they were not surprised by the strike. In a conference call last night, union leaders had informed workers that talks between the union and the company were at an impasse.
The store's pharmacy remains open.
The parking lot at the Trumbull store remained mostly empty, and would-be shoppers, surprised by the picket line, headed to other local stores to do their shopping. Numerous drivers beeped their horns in solidarity as they turned to leave the parking lot.
One man, shown in the video above, walked to the store's locked door before turning and telling one of the workers to "get another job if you don't like this one." The two exchanged words and other strikers closed in before the brief confrontation ended when the would-be shopper turned and walked away.
A statement from Stop & Shop on Thursday said the chain has “contingency plans” to minimize disruption by the demonstrations.
“Given that negotiations with assistance of the federal mediators are continuing, we are disappointed that the UFCW chose to order a work stoppage in an attempt to disrupt service at our stores,” the statement said.
The corporate statement went on to say that it had proposed a “good and reasonable” offer to the local unions including pay increases, continued health care benefits and increased company contributions to the UFCW’s benefit pension fund.
“Additionally, this morning the company made several suggestions to the federal mediators to encourage further bargaining,” the statement said. “The mediators gave those proposals to the Locals late in the morning. The Locals provided no counter proposals to the mediators and simply stated they were proceeding with their plans.”
The statement concluded by saying, “Stop & Shop remains ready and available to meet with the union locals at any time. We are committed to good faith bargaining and hope to reach new contracts as quickly as possible that both recognize and reward the great work of our associates and enable Stop & Shop to compete effectively in the rapidly changing New England grocery market.”
Ongoing Hearst Connecticut Media coverage of the statewide strike here.