Delhaize forced the strike by refusing to back off of the profitable company's proposal to cut pay and pensions and substantially increase healthcare coverage premiums for Stop and Shop workers. The company's final offer at the bargaining table represents a massive step back that cuts workers earnings.
Scott Barry, produce manager and shop steward at the West Hartford store told the People's World that for his family "the co-pay on my weekly check for my family insurance is going to go from $30 to $140 a week and they want to drop our pension benefit about 30%."
Barry added, "It seems like the company is taking dignity, decorum, integrity and fairness and dragging it through the mud while claiming that they are offering a good contract when in truth they are not."
When they got news that the workers had walked out, Local 34 UNITE HERE activists recessed their day-long conference and headed straight to the picket line on Whalley Avenue in New Haven.
At the same time, Local 34 and 35 retirees were finishing their monthly executive board meeting. They fanned out to Stop & Shop stores in New Haven and surrounding towns, bringing solidarity and the high spirits learned on their own picket lines over the last 40 years. At least 19 participated, and gleefully shared photos of the picket lines by text and facebook.
Solidarity was hardly limited to the large Yale locals. Members of the railroad unions, CWA, teachers, carpenters and operating engineers were among the many union members who spontaneously came by to show support.
The evening following the walkout, the New Haven Democratic Town Committee met. A resolution pledging to honor the picket lines and support the workers was adopted with enthusiastic support.
The next day, many State Representatives and Senators, as well as New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, walked the picket lines.
Unidad Latina en Accion, an immigrant rights organization in New Haven, is planning a support rally.
Parking lots at area Stop & Shops are empty. On Palm Sunday, the Hamden Shop-Rite, a union store which competes with the Stop & Shop across the street, was jammed, while the Stop & Shop parking lot was almost empty. Two customers said they live next to a Stop & Shop five miles away, but they came to Shop-Rite because "We have to support our neighbors on strike."
- Sign UFCW's petition to Stop & Shop. Click here to sign the petition to Stop & Shop management to let them know you stand with the workers as they fight for a fair contract.
- Join the workers on a picket line. The workers need your help and solidarity as they picket at over 90 stores across Connecticut. Join them whenever you have time and bring them coffee and doughnuts.
- Continue to shop union.
UFCW represents workers at a number of other grocery stores across
the state. Click
here for a list of union grocery stores in Connecticut. If you
can't shop at a union store, please shop elsewhere, but do
not cross the picket line
at Stop & Shop.