Stop & Shop workers continue to picket


EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Stop & Shop and the union representing its workers returned to the negotiating table Saturday afternoon amid an ongoing strike.

A spokesperson for Stop & Shop said those negotiations lasted several hours before wrapping up for the night.

More than 240 stores are feeling the impacts after about 31,000 union members walked away from a company proposal and walked off the job Thursday.

Workers at the East Providence Stop & Shop were off the job on strike for a third straight day.

“I wanna be working.  I don’t wanna be out here on the picket line,” Matthew McGuirl, a grocery manager who’s worked for the company for almost 30 years said.

For months, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and Stop & Shop have been trying to reach a deal over things such as health care, take-home pay and customer service. According to the union, members are upset over proposed cuts to pay and benefits.

“They’re not giving us what we need to do, we wanna get what we need to get done,” McGuirl said.

In a statement from the company, Stop & Shop’s President Mark McGowan wrote:

“Stop & Shop’s comprehensive offer provides pay increases for all associates, excellent health coverage with deductibles that would not change, increased contributions to the employee pension plans and no changes in paid time off or holidays for current associates. It also does this while maintaining a responsible balance in rewarding our associates, protecting jobs and serving our customers in a dramatically changing, mostly non-union environment.”

Workers on strike Saturday chanted at people who drove into the Providence Stop & Shop on Branch Avenue. During the day, Congressmen David Cicilline and Jim Langevin posted on social media about their stops supporting workers at local stores.  All of this happened before negotiations resumed Saturday night.

“It’s a horrible situation for everybody, it’s gonna be a horrible situation for the company, it’s gonna be a horrible situation for us as well. So I don’t know, I mean, I wanna go back to work,” McGuirl said.

Negotiations are expected to begin again some time Sunday morning.

Workers say they will continue to picket until a deal is reached.

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