From UFCW Blog–Five UFCW locals in New England are currently involved in negotiations at Stop & Shop, as their contract expiration date, February 23rd, draws near. Nearly 36,000 members in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island could see their wages and working conditions affected once the contract expires. The hard-working baggers, cashiers, meat-cutters, and other employees of Stop & Shop are not about to let what they have worked for be reversed.

Stop & Shop supermarkets has now begun putting ads in local newspapers to hire temporary workers, or strikebreakers, in the event that a strike will take place- an insult to the company’s hardworking union members. These tactics are designed to scare and intimidate workers.

So far however, the difficult negotiations have yielded some results, and Stop & Shop has removed some its negative proposals from the bargaining table.  Still in negotiation are issues surrounding holiday premiums, sick pay, and job transfers – all important issues to our members.  On an even bigger scale though, are conflicts involving pensions, health and welfare, and wages, which will be discussed next week.

Stop & Shop is owned by the Royal Dutch company Ahold, which makes more than half of its profits in the U.S. Those sales came to $25.8 billion dollars in 2012, keeping it in competition with the likes of Walmart and Target. Yet, the company is greedy to expand those profit-margins further, by implementing low wages and taking away healthcare and other benefits from its Stop and Shop employees, as well as those who work for its many other grocery stores and businesses.

Although these contract negotiations are often long and difficult, the five locals have already made progress by standing together in solidarity. By working in unity, UFCW and Stop and Shop can come away with a deal that is fair for both parties.

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