WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Stop & Shop workers have been on strike for almost a week.
Stop & Shop parking lots are much less crowded, but the stores are still open, and the pharmacies and banks inside are still staffed.
Striking workers picketed for a sixth day outside the Belchertown Stop & Shop Tuesday. But inside, the bank and pharmacies are still staffed, as their employees are not part of the striking union.
But union leaders told 22News, workers don’t want to disrupt those customers.
“When they come up to us, and the picketers try to tell our side of the story, we pretty much as, are you going to use the bank are you going to get your prescriptions, because if they are, we’re not even mentioning much of the strike to them,” said Chris Adams, spokesman of UFCW Local 1459. “We don’t want to interfere with that business, we’re keeping it strictly to Stop & Shop business.”
Our 22News crew did see a picketing employee explaining that sentiment to a customer.
“We prefer you not to, but if you have to get a prescription or something like that,” Adams added.
Stop & Shop issued an apology to customers for the inconvenience and said they are committed to resolving labor negotiations as quickly as possible.
The grocery chain said most stores are remaining open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but the meat selection is limited, and customer service, bakery, deli, and seafood counters are not open, and neither are the gas stations.
Some local food pantries are benefitting from the strike.
The Martin Luther King Jr. emergency food pantry in Springfield received a big donation on Tuesday. Because of the strike, three stores dropped off hundreds of pounds of meat and baked goods.
Some shoppers do appear to be avoiding the picket lines. Some drugstores have run out of milk during the strike.