Update, April 22, 2019: Stop & Shop yesterday reached a deal with the five unions whose members were part of a 11-day strike. WBUR reports terms of the agreement have not been made public, and that previously striking workers returned to work today. The Boston Globe reported shopping trips by regular Stop & Shop customers declined by 75% during the strike.
Original story, April 16, 2019: Roughly 31,000 Stop & Shop employees at 240 stores in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts have entered day six of a strike, forcing some stores to close. The workers are members of five unions, and are at odds with management over wages and benefits. The New York Times reports a union representative said the proposed contract’s 50-cents-per-hour pay increase would not be enough to offset an increase in health care costs. Stop & Shop president Mark McGowan said last weekend any further wage increases were “unsustainable” and could lead to higher grocery prices.
WFSB Channel 3 News says there’s no end in sight to the stalemate, though talks between the union and parent company are ongoing. Several stores have closed, though it’s unclear exactly how many. A Stop & Shop spokesperson tells WTNH all bank and pharmacies inside the stores are still open.
As fewer customers visit the Stop & Shop stores that remain open (its locations in New York and New Jersey are not affected), the grocery company says it is donating unused, perishable food to charities. “we are working with our regional food bank partners, as well as local food pantries, to donate as much food as possible to our neighbors in need,” a spokesperson told WFSB.
In other strike-related updates, Hall Of Fame hockey player and former Boston Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque had to apologize after he crossed a picket line to shop at the Stop & Shop in North Andover, Massachusetts. He tweeted that as a former hockey-player union member himself, he respects the work unions do. “I have a medical condition that I was preparing for this morning and mistakenly crossed the picket line at Stop & Shop. On my way out I apologized immediately,” he wrote. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren also visited the striking workers last week, offering support as well as coffee and doughnuts.