After weeks of tense negotiations, the Stop & Shop strike has finally come to an end. On April 21, 2019, employees from Stop & Shop supermarkets across the Northeast walked off the job in protest of proposed cuts to healthcare, pension plans, and wages. It was the largest private-sector strike in years. But after eleven days of picketing and rallying, a tentative agreement was reached between the company and the striking workers.
The agreement, which still needs to be ratified by the members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, includes several key provisions that appeased the striking workers. First and foremost, the union was able to secure continued eligibility for the high-quality healthcare plans that the workers had fought so hard to protect. The company had sought to raise the out-of-pocket costs for medical visits and prescription drugs, which would have made healthcare unaffordable for many workers. But the union was able to prevent these changes from taking effect.
The agreement also includes wage increases for all workers, including part-time employees. The union was able to secure a new wage structure that will provide more consistent and meaningful raises for workers over the next three years. In addition, the company agreed to increase contributions to the pension plan, which had been a major point of contention during the negotiations.
Perhaps most importantly, the agreement provides protections for part-time workers, who make up a significant portion of Stop & Shop`s workforce. Under the new contract, part-time workers will receive more hours and better scheduling, which will help them earn more money and have more consistent work. The company had previously been accused of exploiting part-time workers by giving them unpredictable schedules and inadequate pay.
Overall, the agreement between Stop & Shop and the UFCW represents a decisive victory for the workers who went on strike. Their activism and solidarity in the face of unfair labor practices forced the company to come to the negotiating table and make significant concessions. And while there is still work to be done to ensure that all workers are treated fairly and have access to high-quality benefits, this strike serves as a powerful example of the importance of standing up for workers` rights.