Western Massachusetts Unionized Stop & Shop workers voted in favor of a strike authorization against the supermarket chain Sunday morning at the Castle of Knights in Chicopee Sunday.
The United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1459 Union granted its leaders the power to call a strike, rather than accept a contract with Stop & Shop. Stop & Shop unionized workers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut have been working without a contract since February 23rd.
“People came out from the Berkshires because they know how important this is to them,” said Tyrone Housey, President of the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1459 Union. “I’m pleased of the response and the unity that was in the meeting.”
The UFCW Local 1459 Union represents about 1,300 Stop & Shop employees. The Springfield-based union is demanding better health insurance benefits, pensions, and vacation time.
UFCW Local 1459 President Tyrone Housey told 22News the strike authorization vote doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a strike, but it does give him and the bargaining committee the authority to call for a strike if negotiations do not continue to move forward.
Stop & Shop communications manager Stefanie Shuman sent 22News a statement, that said Stop & Shop is bargaining in good faith with all of the workers unions and they’re working hard to reach an agreement on a contract.
Shuman said they hope to reach an agreement in the bargaining sessions that are scheduled over the next two weeks.