DORCHESTER, Mass. (WPRI) — Former Vice President Joe Biden showed support for thousands of striking Stop & Shop employees Thursday, saying they deserve fair pay and benefits.
Biden spoke to a massive crowd of strikers and supporters at a rally in Dorchester, calling on the supermarket chain to treat its workers with respect and dignity.
“Workers are not being treated like they matter,” Biden said. “Wall Street bankers and CEOs did not build America. You built America… We built America… Ordinary middle-class people built America.”
Massachusetts Treasurer Deb Goldberg also spoke at the rally, saying she’s been working hard to ensure economic stability statewide.
“We believe in good benefits. We believe in good salaries. Not givebacks, not givebacks and robbing from new employees and part-timers,” Goldberg said.
Employees of the United Food & Commercial Workers union walked off the job last Thursday. The strike, now on its eighth day, is centered around the company’s proposed cuts to benefits and take-home pay.
Stop & Shop President Mark McGowan disputes this, saying their offer includes pay increase across the board and excellent benefits.
“We have offered fair and responsible contracts and remain in active negotiations to reach new agreements as quickly as possible that keep our associates among the highest paid grocery retail workers in New England, while also providing excellent healthcare and increased contributions to a defined benefit pension plan,” McGowan said in a statement.
Some Stop & Shop locations have remained closed during the strike, while others are operating on a limited basis with temporary workers. The union started a GoFundMe page for the striking employees in order to, “assist Stop & Shop strikers facing hardships.”
Both sides are negotiating behind closed doors in Providence.