Stop & Shop offered new labor proposals to federal mediators late Thursday morning in an attempt to continue bargaining, but the union provided no counter offer and moved forward with its plans to strike.
Local 1459 represents workers at the Stop & Shop on State Road and the stores on Dan Fox Drive and Merrill Road in Pittsfield.
It's all because of a dispute that's left workers without a contract since February.
He cited the company's dramatic plans to increase insurance premium copayments for employees as an example.
Lynn store employees, including florist manager Bridget Clemens of Saugus and meat clerk John Fountaine of Lynn, stopped serving customers and picked up picket signs at 1 p.m.
Some of the stores are getting temporary replacement workers, Brogan said, as workers who tend to have desk jobs (such as in the Quincy corporate headquarters) head in to help ring registers or stock shelves, Brogan said. A group of workers and supporters marched through a Somerville store in March to demand a fair contract.
"Stop & Shop's parent company, Ahold Delhaize, saw over $2 billion in profit previous year and got a USA tax cut of $225 million in 2017", the statement said. "We have put our faith in the union". He was keeping track of the number of employees on the picket line, and how long they stayed. Cars honked in support as they drove by. A few people who entered the parking lot from the far end, where no picketers were standing, were surprised to find the store closed and locked when they walked up with their carts. "And I'm on strike".
Stop & Shop spokeswoman Jennifer Brogan said the strike comes as the company and UFCW were continuing to talk with assistance from federal mediators.
It wasn't immediately clear from UFCW on Thursday afternoon how long the strike would last, or how store operations would be impacted.
Workers say their biggest concerns are around proposed cuts to take home pay, healthcare, and pensions. "They do not respect the hard work that you do every day, and we're done talking today". This is not the time to ask for concessions. "Rather, this is a time to invest in the workers who have made Stop & Shop so successful and profitable".
United Food & Commercial Workers union members from several locals walked off the job, with some picketing outside the stores.
A Stop & Shop spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Stop & Shop said its latest offer included across-the-board pay increases for all union workers, an increase to employee pensions, and health care benefits to eligible workers "at a fraction of what employees at other retail companies pay and with no changes to already unusually low deductibles".
Increased company contributions to the UFCW's defined benefit pension fund for current full- and vested part-time associates - a rare benefit in the New England food retail industry.
According to the website, "Stop & Shop remains ready and available to meet with the union locals at any time".
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Striking Stop & Shop workers at the 1235 Farmington Ave. store in West Hartford.
The Massachusetts AFL-CIO tweeted that 31,000 workers were on strike as of 1 p.m. There were reports on social media of closed Stop & Shops from Westfield to Boston, though others remained open.
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