Stop & Shop, union workers resume negotiations in effort to end strike

By UnionsFOXBusiness

Stop & Shop reaches deal with striking workers

FBN's Ashley Webster on Stop & Shop reaching a deal with striking workers.

Negotiations between Stop & Shop officials and striking workers resumed on Sunday, as both sides work to settle a dispute over proposed changes to health care benefits and employee pay.

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The continuation of the talks on Easter Sunday was confirmed to FOX Business by Stop & Shop spokeswoman Jennifer Brogan, and a spokesperson for the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, which represents 31,000 striking employees.

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Members of the UFCW at 240 Stop & Shop stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connection formed picket lines on April 11 to protest the company’s proposed changes to “health care, take-home pay, and other benefits.” The union argues that the supermarket chain’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize, took in more than $2 billion in profits last year and bought back $4 billion in stock over the past three years.

Some stores in the region were closed entirely, while others operated until noon on Sunday without their delis, seafood and bakery sections staffed.

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Many loyal Stop & Shop customers have not crossed the picket line and have taken their business elsewhere, according to data from Skyhook, a Boston-based location technology and intelligence company.

During the first days of the strike, loyal customer visits to Stop & Shop fell by 75 percent, according to Skyhook. Instead, they went to other grocery stores in the area like Hannaford (a supermarket chain with locations in New England and New York), which saw a 300 percent increase of foot traffic from regular Stop & Shop customers.

Meanwhile, the strike has attracted the attention of politicians from across the nation. Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg joined picketers at a store in Malden, Massachusetts on Friday.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is widely-expected to announce his candidacy in the near future, joined striking workers at a rally on Thursday, while Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who announced her candidacy in December, brought coffee and donuts to picketers on April 12.

Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also voiced his support of workers, tweeting that he stands with union workers “in their fight to protect health care and workers’ rights.”