Stop & Shop Strike: Collateral Damage

A week into the Stop & Shop strike, both sides are settling in.

Employees of the Westport store are among 31,000 employees picketing the supermarket chain in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The issues include healthcare, wages and pensions.

Many Westporters seem to be honoring the strike. Passing drivers honk and flash thumb’s-up signs. The Post Road East parking lot is almost empty.

But that’s had a ripple effect on businesses that share the shopping center plaza with Stop & Shop.

Lori Brower — general manager of Kindred Spirits & Wine — says that while she supports the striking employees, her business has been impacted greatly as shoppers avoid the plaza altogether.

“We are a small family owned-business,” she notes. “Our tight-knit staff also needs to provide for their families.”

General manager Lori Brower, flanked by (from left) wine manager Dan Weaver and assistant manager Andrew Werner.

She hopes people realize that her company has nothing to do with Stop & Shop.

And that folks who park in the shopping center lot are not necessarily crossing a picket line.

They may just be her customers, looking for a nice wine for Passover or Easter.

24 responses to “Stop & Shop Strike: Collateral Damage

  1. Jean Marie Marie Wiesen

    I feel badly for the neighboring businesses, it’s unfair to them. Thanks for bringing this up, Dan.

  2. John Hartwell

    I spoke with a manager of a competing store in Branford, and he pointed out that while he has benefited, many of the vendors who stock his store are also getting hurt by the strike as their sales have fallen. Hopefully an equitable deal can be made soon and everyone can get back to work.

  3. Joshua Stein

    Can anyone find an honest list of what is in dispute at this time? I have read over a few articles and published documents from both sides and it seems like Stop and Shop is offering a very competitive and excellent deal. At this point it seems like both sides are arguing over a few bucks but perhaps I am missing something because of the angles both sides are trying to put forth.

    • Richard Fogel

      do you know what the average pay is? I used google and it said it was around $12 to $15 an hour. If that is true that is unfair.

      • Bob Stalling

        An unfair average for which position how?

        • Richard Fogel

          the article did not specify but I assumed it was for cashier,stocking shelves,etc, #$12 to $15 an hour is inadequate.

      • Pay is one part of total compensation. From what I was reading, their overall benefits and pay is pretty good compared with other similar places and their benefits are excellent (health insurance, pension, etc). Again, I cannot find a single independent source that lays everything out as curious as I am there is collateral damage with neighboring businesses (per this article), suppliers, etc. I even heard a story where an older person went to get food and was confused and may have gone home hungry. There are side effects and I am just trying to understand if this battle is on-going really only over a few bucks (stop and shop asking employees to contribute a few dollars per month towards health insurance). There are three sides to every story and I am trying to find the ‘third’ side.

  4. Few, if any, win when a strike is called these days. Suppliers, partners, and in this case, shared real estate merchants all suffer. AND no true measure of the longer term damage done from customers who find suitable replacements for their current vendor and simply never come back. Workers aren’t winning as they lose wages permanently and perhaps gain a raise in the future that will undoubtedly lead to fewer workers employed long term. Having lived around the country in several other towns, this S&S is one of the worst shopping centers I’ve encountered. I see a lot of long term Ill effects resulting from this strike.

  5. Richard Fogel

    I would like to see the authors of these comments walk in shoes the striking workers.

    • I have. Was a longshoreman for many years when in my late teens and 20’s. Member of a union. Worked long hours and performed physically demanding work-and paying for it today with a bad back. I worked my ass off and went back to school so I could get a better paying office job. I feel for the workers but striking is seldom the answer in my experience. Certainly not in this age. They may win this battle but will lose longer term when fewer jobs are sustained and quite possibly S&S shuts the location down one day.

  6. Question — I use the Stop & Shop Pharmacy and may need a prescription refill soon. Does using the pharmacy fall within crossing the picket line? If I went to another pharmacy, it would be somewhat complicated as they would have to enter my drug plan and a number of other documents. Any suggestions or comments? I am firmly against crossing a picket line.

    • Wendy Cusick

      No, it’s not considered crossing the line. The pharmacy runs separately from the store as does People’s Bank.

    • Using the Stop & Shop Pharmacy is acceptable. Just let the picketers know that you are going to the pharmacy. It is not considered crossing a picket line.

  7. John Hartwell

    The company wants to take spouses off of health insurance coverage, and eliminate overtime for Sunday shifts. Both would have a major impact on employees

    • Joshua Stein

      That is not what I read. They want spouses to use their own employers health insurance (if eligible). Its like that at most companies. Also, from Stop & Shop “Stop & Shop has proposed no changes to Sunday time-and-a-half premiums for current and future full-time associates. Current part-time associates would, at a minimum, keep their current Sunday premium dollar amounts. New part-time associates would also get premium pay.”

    • From what I’ve read (Boston Globe), spouses would be ineligible only if the spouses’ own employers offered health coverage. And my understanding is that the company is not eliminating overtime pay, but freezing the premium (Currently, the pay rate for Sundays is time and a half. An employee making $12/hr would get a $/hr premium on Sundays, and make $18 per hour. If the employee gets a pay raise from $12 to $12.50, his premium for Sundays would stay at $6 and he would make $18.50 per hour).

  8. Joshua posted while I was typing. I did not intend to “pile on.” Sorry!

  9. Richard Fogel

    $12 to !6 an hour is inadequate. Its unfair.

  10. This is from a post by Isla Laslow on April 14:

    “Please think twice before you cross the Stop & Shop picket line (I believe the pharmacy is exempt from the strike). I’ve read one too many posts about people joking these folks are lucky to have a job. These types of insensitive and uneducated remarks are so unnecessary. These employees are just trying to get through life – just as we are – and Stop & Shop wants to:

    Eliminate holiday and Sunday pay
    Bonus instead of increased wages
    Reducing work force by 50%
    Prepackaged meat factory, 3 week shelf life for meat
    Self serve store
    Eliminate cashiers
    Slash benefits
    Add over $100 per person for health benefits
    Replace pension with 401k
    Exclude spouses from health insurance
    Pay deductible first, increase deductible
    Increase prescription cost
    Do away with part timers benefits
    Affordable care act higher deductibles and costs
    Eliminate 3 holidays and 2 personal days
    4 hrs holiday pay
    Eliminate vacation time no 3rd 4th and 5th week vacation
    Reduce sick days”

    • Joshua Stein

      based on my quick research, a lot on that list is incorrect, and quite a bit misleading. this information discredits the actual issues at hand. hence, why its important to have the facts right.

  11. Why would anyone cross a picket line to shop in a store selling stuff one can get in other places…why not just err on the side of the striking workers even if you’re not in total agreement with them……PS. There is no way in hell that what is “won” by striking is gonna’ compensate for lost wages while on strike.

    • Why? I can give you some examples. 1) someone doesnt have transportation and the local S&S is in walking distance, 2) someone elderly that does not understand the situation nor know that anywhere else exists, 3) because someones Rx is at the store pharmacy and they need their medication, 4) because of another business that is within the S&S (i.e. starbucks, people’s bank), 5) S&S prices are actually affordable compared to next closest alternative. Etc

  12. Michael Calise

    This is why we need a strong and growing economy which will insure competitive and adequate wages.

  13. It would be great if the owners of neighboring businesses could channel their frustration into joining the voices speaking sense to Stop & Shop’s management and helping the workers get back to their jobs with fair pay and benefits.