Workers at local Stop and Shop grocery stores could soon go on strike.
That would impact 91 stores in Connecticut – all of them employ members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union.
The retailer and New England branches of the UFCW are negotiating this week for a new contract, almost two weeks after the most recent agreement expired.
Workers have said that they’re fighting against four things – no raises for the next three years, rising health costs, a reduction in pension funding, and the potential to lose premium pay on Sundays.
“Any one of those four topics will rile my members up enough and all of the members in New England to say enough is enough,” Mark Espinosa, the president of the 919 Connecticut local of the UFCW.
There are five UFCW locals from New England currently at the bargaining table.
“Boston local has already met with their membership and has indeed taken a strike vote authorization. However, our intention is not to strike the company at this point,” Espinosa said.
If there’s no agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, there could be a work stoppage.
“We believe that we can get some movement and we’re going to stay at the bargaining table and try to keep our members working,” Espinosa said.
Stop and Shop declined an interview request, but a spokesperson for the retailer said in a written statement that Stop and Shop is committed to its negotiations with the UFCW, but is also prepared for any potential work stoppage.
“Should a union strike or job action occur, we have plans in place to minimize interruption to our store operations so that our customers can continue to count on Stop & Shop,” said Jennifer Brogan, a Stop and Shop spokeswoman. “This will include the deployment of corporate personnel as well as temporary replacement workers.”
Espinosa will brief his members on negotiations on March 10. Then, they’ll all take a vote. One other group – the 371 Connecticut local – will get together Wednesday March 6.