Sides still talking as Stop & Shop strike enters 8th day


As the Stop & Shop workers’ strike enters its eighth day, both sides are still talking at the negotiation table.

In its lastest update late, the UFCW said it met several times with Stop & Shop negotiators and exchanged proposals. “However, they still haven’t moved from their wage proposal and other substantial issues that matter to you and your coworkers. We will be back at the table tomorrow (Thursday) to continue to work towards an agreement that will make Stop & Shop better for workers and shoppers.”

The union also said the company did something Wednesday that “in an effort to break the unity and strength” since the strike began.

“The company has also chosen to take dues out of your paychecks this week in an effort to weaken your resolve. To be clear, each of your Locals will refund any amount of dues taken from your check this week by the company. Please know that you have taken a monumental step in standing up for what’s right and it is having a huge impact. In fact, a retail consulting firm told The Boston Globe “In nearly 30 years, we haven’t seen a strike as effective and devastating as this one.”

Stop & Shop President Mark McGowan also said negotiations are planned for Thursday in the hope “that this situation is resolved soon and that we can all get our energies back to being fully focused on our customers.”

McGowan messages contained two “observations:” that he wanted to share:

“I deeply respect your right to picket. It is part of the civil discourse that is so central to our democracy. On several occasions, however, protests have gone far beyond civil - and customers and employees have been threatened, intimidated or put in situations that felt dangerous or disrespectful. That and illegal actions are things that we will - and I will - absolutely not stand for. We have a responsibility to make sure that everyone on Stop & Shop property is safe at all times, and we take this commitment very seriously.

“Please remember that those stopping by Stop & Shop locations are our customers and our neighbors, and we want them to come back as fully engaged shoppers when we are back at full speed. So, certainly make your case, but I hope you will keep this in mind.

“Second, the contract proposals being discussed by the unions and the company cover a lot of important ground - wages, health care, pensions, holidays, etc. Given how much misinformation is flying around about what has been offered, we have worked hard to make sure the facts are available in a transparent, candid way.”

He asked shoppers to look at the company’s contract proposal here

Striking workers will get a boost Thursday when former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a rally outside a Stop & Shop in Dorcester, Mass.

A story by Hearst Connecticut reporter Luther Turmelle said a leading national retail consultant has estimated that the walkout by Stop & Shop workers is costing the grocery chain $2 million per week and likely will cause the company to permanently lose a portion of its market share the longer the strike continues.

Bert Flickinger, managing director of New York City-based Strategic Resource Group, said the strike couldn’t have come at a worse time for Stop & Shop, which is owned by Danish-retail giant Ahold Delhaize. Holy week, the seven-day period leading to Easter, and Passover traditionally are among the busiest weeks annually in the supermarket business, Flickinger said.

He estimated if the strike isn’t settled in time for shoppers to buy their holiday food items, Stop & Shop could lose as much of 5 percent of its total annual sales and 4 percent of its profits for this year.

“There’s really no chance for them to make that up,” he said. “The next big sales period for grocery stores is between Memorial Day and Labor Day. And once shoppers have formed habits with another retailer, it’s hard to get them back.”