After the current contract expired in late February, and labor negotiations stalled without a resolution, more than 31,000 Stop & Shop employees walked off the job just after lunchtime on April 11.
Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, which owns the Stop & Shop banner, said the company has “contingency plans in place to minimize disruption.”
Local media reported brief store closures when employees walked off the job.
“In contrast to the company’s proposal which is better than most recent UFCW contract settlements and responsive to heavy non-union competition, the unions proposed a contract that would increase the company’s costs,” Ahold Delhaize said in a statement. “This would make our company less competitive in the mostly non-union New England food retail marketplace.”
A statement from UFCW Local 1459 said Ahold Delhaize’s proposal requires employees to pay hundreds of dollars more in health care premiums, reduces monthly pension benefits by 32%, and average general wage increases were reduced to approximately 2%, citing Ahold Delhaize’s $2 billion in profits in 2018.
Jeff Bolen, president of UFCW 1445, said in a video statement Stop & Shop’s parent company is “very profitable,” and implored consumers to shop elsewhere until the strike ends.
“The are trying to destroy the health benefits and pensions of our hardworking members,” Bolen said in the video.