April 12, 2019

Senator Haskell Joins Wilton Stop & Shop Workers in Support of Strike

WILTON, CT – This morning, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Wilton) joined workers at the Wilton Stop & Shop grocery store in support of their strike against the company. The strike, which started Thursday, comes as workers protest unfair labor practices from the grocery store chain.

On Thursday, 31,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union working at 243 Stop & Shop grocery stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut went on strike after extended negotiations between the company and the union have extended since January. Stop & Shop workers have been working without a contract since February as negotiations continue.

The UFCW has said that despite the grocery store’s parent company seeing significant profits, the company is attempting to cut employee healthcare and retirement benefits. Stop & Shop employee pensions are currently fully funded by the company, which has asked for new full-time workers, and part-time workers hired since February 2014, to receive a reduced pension benefit of up to 32 percent, according to the UFCW. The company is also seeking to require full-time employees to pay an additional $893 in health care premiums over three years and part-time employees an additional $603 over three years. In addition, the contract would see many part-time employees receive an average wage increase of under 2 percent.

Stop & Shop says its union staff leads to higher costs and it must reduce them to remain competitive, though the UFCW said it has not provided financial information to verify the claim. Union officials said Stop & Shop’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize, reported more than $2 billion in profit in 2018, and received a tax cut in the United States of $225 million in 2017.

“I’m proud to stand with these workers as they fight for a living wage,” said Sen. Haskell. “Income equality is not just a national problem – it’s a local problem here in Fairfield County. If you work in our community, I will stand by your side in the fight for affordable healthcare and wages that allow you to put food on the table.”

“Our 31,000 members who work at Stop & Shop work incredibly hard to provide the great customer service that has made the company billions of dollars in profit and the top grocery store in New England. 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,” said the UFCW. “What Stop & Shop workers don’t deserve, and what no one who works hard in New England deserves, are unreasonable cuts while the company they work so hard for makes billions of dollars in profits. That is wrong and it sends a terrible message to every customer who truly depends on our Stop & Shop cashiers, stockers, bakers, deli clerk, and butchers.”

Sen. Haskell participated in a Facebook Live interview Friday morning with Good Morning Wilton. That interview is available at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/GoodMorningWilton/videos/2030361917259683/