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Stop & Shop Employees Strike for Better Wages, Working Conditions

Tue, 07/02/2024 - 14:38
Employees outside Stop & Shop urged customers to shop elsewhere.
Christine Sampson

UPDATE, July 2, 8 p.m.: A tentative agreement has been reached between Stop & Shop and Local 342. While the terms have not been finalized, Ms. Lampo said progress had been made. “We definitely made headway in every category. . . We made movement across the board, finally.” 

She specifically mentioned that progress was made regarding the use of A.I. technology in Stop & Shop stores, “They did give us the A.I. language, which is huge.”

ORIGINALLY, July 2, 3:20 p.m.: East Hampton Village's Stop & Shop grocery store employees are officially on strike.

Standing outside the Newtown Lane store on Tuesday late in the morning, striking employees offered flyers to customers entering the store, urging them to reconsider their decision to shop there even at a time when people typically flock to grocery stores to get ready for Fourth of July celebrations.

The fliers urge "Negotiate!" in red italicized letters, along with a brief description of the issues.

"The purpose of the strike is to get a fair contract from the employer. They have been bargaining in bad faith," said Keeley Lampo, the activities and communications director for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 342. 

Ms. Lampo said the union has been negotiating with Stop & Shop for the past nine months to establish terms for a new contract.

There are five main issues at the heart of negotiations: wages, A.I. technology, understaffing, cutting of hours, and the changing of working conditions during the bargaining process. 

The strikes at the East Hampton store and the Southampton Village store are "wall to wall," which means that all employees of those locations are taking part. In other areas, the strike is concentrated around the meat, seafood, and deli employees. The union represents about 1,200 Stop & Shop employees in all, from New York City, Suffolk County, and Nassau County, though not every employee is striking, according to Ms. Lampo.

“While we are disappointed that members of Local 342 have temporarily left the workplace today in two of our store locations, Stop & Shop and its associates are prepared to continue to serve customers," Daniel Wolk, Stop & Shop's external communications manager, said in an email Tuesday afternoon. "Our stores will remain open, and service to our customers will continue with minimal disruption. Stop & Shop will also continue to negotiate in good faith with Local 342, and we are hopeful we will come to a fair new agreement soon.”

Inside the East Hampton store, the meat, seafood, and deli sections were empty, with the lights turned off. The customer service counter was also unmanned. Long lines formed at the self-checkout stations. The decision to strike came early Tuesday morning, when bargaining ended around 4 a.m. 

Since the strike began, the union has not made any progress negotiating with Stop & Shop, Ms. Lampo said. Bargaining efforts over the past several nights have been in-person.

Ms. Lampo stressed the importance of action in establishing change, and also spoke about the strike's wider impact. "It doesn't just affect the employees; it affects the communities, too," she said.

This is a developing story that will be updated as more information becomes available.

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