Stop n Shop Workers on Strike: Dutch Owners Cutting Wages Healthcare and Retirement.

By: Patrick Wilson

Across New England 31,000 Stop n Shop Employees walked off the job last Thursday, April 11th. The workers went on Strike over proposed cuts to workers’ take-home pay and benefits including healthcare and retirement benefits.

In February 2017 Stop n Shop narrowly avoided a strike over proposed changes to employees health care plans that would raise the cost of their healthcare. “The stop-and-go negotiations between Stop & Shop and its five unions came to a conclusion with a three-year contract overwhelmingly ratified by union members across New England, and a strike was averted.” According to Wikipedia.

In current negotiations which began in February, Stop n Shop is asking for major concessions from its union employees. The proposal Stop n Shop gave its union employees,  strips them of premium pay on national holidays and Sundays, while also eliminating any raises, slashing contributions to retirement plans, and increasing employee healthcare costs. “Instead of a contract that recognizes the value and hard work that our members provide every day, Stop & Shop has only proposed drastic and unreasonable cuts to health care benefits and take home pay, while replacing real customer service with more serve-yourself checkout machines,” the union statement said. The union locals also said that Ahold Delhaize, Dutch parent company to Stop n Shop had more than $2 billion in profits last year and got a U.S. tax cut of $225 million in 2017.

Yesterday, Senior Senator and Presidential candidate Elizabeth Waren joined striking workers at the Somerville Stop n Shop for a rally for a fair new contract and to pass out food for the striking workers. Senator Warren has long touted that Corporations should pay their fair share in our economic system.

Stop n Shop was founded in Somerville Massachusetts in 1914 by a local family. Purchased in 1995 by Dutch company Ahold, who also owns Food Lion and Giant. The company has saturated the New England market and $2 billion in profit go to foreign investors and do not benefit the U.S. or local economies. While many of their employees struggle to make ends meet and end up needing some form of public assistance, the company received a $225 million tax cut under the Trump administration.

Stop n Shop says Massachusetts stores would be operating on modified hours, with stores opening at 8 a.m. and remaining open until 8 p.m. According to striking employees on the picket line, the Teamsters who deliver perishables, haven’t made deliveries since last Thursday. The employees also spoke of poor working conditions, lack of training and understanding of job titles, descriptions and responsibilities. They also mentioned employees being ‘starved out’ as a management practice.

The UFCW and Stop n Shop have been negotiating since February 14th and at this time there is no solution in sight.