(photo courtesy of Mike/Mozart/Flickr)
by Nancy Shack, WBZ NewsRadio1030
BOSTON, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Union workers in Massachusetts have voted to authorize a strike against supermarket giant Stop and Shop. At a meeting this morning, UFCW Local 1445 representing 10,000 employees held the vote. No date is yet scheduled for a work stoppage and union leaders say talks will continue next week.
(membership meeting Sunday, February 24th/UFCW Local 1445 Facebook)
The union says while they have been negotiating new terms with company representatives over the past several weeks, the current contract expired Saturday night at midnight. Workers claim that all of Stop & Shop’s proposals so far have cut workers’ benefits, despite the $74 billion in sales done by its Dutch parent company, Ahold Delhaize, last year. The union also cites the authorization of $1 billion in stock buybacks for its shareholders as a sign of the employer's financial health and the fact that the grocery chain has benefited greatly from recently passed tax cuts.
On the vote, President of Local Union 1445 Jeff Bollen, stated "Instead of investing in our members, many of whom have given Stop & Shop over 40 years of service, Ahold would rather ship money overseas. This only serves to grow the income of wealthy executives, and hurts our communities along with the service our loyal customers expect in their stores. Today Local 1445 members stood strong and demanded that Stop & Shop invest in all of us.”
In a statement, Stop and Shop said, “We understand that the members of one of the five union locals have voted to authorize a strike, although this does not necessarily mean the union actually will initiate a strike. Negotiations will continue this week, and we are continuing to negotiate in good faith and remain committed to reaching a resolution as quickly as possible."
CORRECTION: Previous reporting said 30,000 workers were covered by the strike authorization. Only 10,000 workers were covered by the strike authorization.