United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 (UFCW), New York State's largest grocery workers union, received authorization Monday evening from their members employed by Stop and Shop Supermarket to call a work stoppage should negotiations fail to produce an acceptable agreement. The strike authorization allows the Union to call a strike after the November 2 contract expiration date. The strike vote was taken in response to Stop and Shop's attempts to drastically reduce employee healthcare benefits and, for some workers, eliminate them completely.
A labor dispute with Stop and Shop would affect 5,500 members employed by Stop and Shop Supermarkets operating in Long Island, New York City's Five Boroughs, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties. The current collective bargaining agreement with Stop and Shop expired on September 28, 2013 however both parties agreed to two contract extensions
"The members of our Union working for Stop and Shop are prepared to negotiate a fair contract," said Anthony Speelman, Local 1500's Secretary Treasurer and lead negotiator for the Union's Stop and Shop bargaining committee, "They understand there must be changes to their Health Fund to be compliant under the legal requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They have approached these negotiations with an open mind."
"Unfortunately, Stop and Shop has responded to their employees' good faith bargaining efforts with negotiating tactics that are arrogant and insincere," Speelman continued. "Last night those employees sent a clear message to Stop and Shop that they will do whatever it takes to protect the Union contract they have earned over the years and will no longer tolerate disrespect from Stop and Shop management. Our members always hope for the best but are prepared and ready for the worst," concluded Speelman.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, based out of Westbury, New York represents grocery workers in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties. Members of Local 1500 are employed by A&P/Pathmark, Fairway, Stop and Shop, Gristedes, D'Agastino, Key Food, Shop Rite and King Kullen. Stay up to date with UFCW Local 1500 on twitter @ufcw1500, facebook.com/ufcw1500, www.ufcw1500.org.