CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Former Vice President Joe Biden was in Massachusetts Thursday to support workers on the picket lines, as the strike at Stop & Shop supermarkets enters its eighth day.
Contract negotiations between Stop & Shop and five locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers union remain ongoing, but it is unclear just how much longer the strike will go on. UFCW members at 240 Stop & Shop stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut went on strike last Thursday to protest the company’s contract proposal.
The union says that Stop & Shop wants to increase employee health care contributions and get rid of increased pay for workers on Sundays. The grocery store chain says they are offering across-the-board raises and ‘excellent’ health care benefits that beat industry standards.
Also in attendance at Thursday’s rally was the Treasurer of Massachusetts Debra Goldberg who’s family used to own Stop & Shop. Senator Ed Markey also gave remarks thanking the union members for the work they do across Massachusetts. A common theme at Thursday’s rally was ending corporate greed.
“When I heard about this strike and I saw some of the papers going back and forth and the company wanted to take away health insurance that’s something that we can’t stand for,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
UFCW union members at 240 Stop & Shop stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut went on strike last Thursday… to protest the company’s contract proposal.
The grocery store chain says they’re offering across-the-board raises and health care benefits that beat industry standards.
The former vice president said, “It happens if you have decent healthcare, it happens if you a fair wage, it happens if you have retirement, without those things you cannot live a middle-class life.”
This Stop & Shop strike is the longest in the grocery store chain’s history. The last time Stop & Shop workers went on strike was back in 1988, and that lasted for only four hours.
Former Vice President, and possible 2020 presidential candidate, Biden spoke at a rally outside a Stop & Shop in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood Thursday afternoon, to show his support for the strikers.
Biden is not the first Democratic contender to take a side in this labor dispute- Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren visited with striking workers at a Stop & Shop in Somerville last week.
22News State House Reporter Jodi Reed was at Thursday’s rally, and will have coverage here on WWLP.com and on 22News tonight starting at 5:00.