Five locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers union said they would resume federally mediated contract discussions with Ahold’s Stop & Shop New England division this week in hopes of avoiding a work stoppage.
Contracts for approximately 35,000 union workers at the company expired Feb. 27. Union leaders said they broke off talks last week so they could review “a very complex economic proposal” presented by the retailer to each of the five locals Wednesday.
Unions previously authorized leaders to call a strike if necessary, while Ahold reportedly has advertised for replacement workers as a guard against such an event.
Speaking with analysts in an earnings conference call Thursday, Ahold CEO Dick Boer said he was “hopeful that we can come to a conclusion with [unions] soon,” but did not address specifics of the talks.
The five chapters — UFCW Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445 and 1459 — in a statement Friday denounced Ahold for failing to come to an agreement despite improving financials. “Despite their continued profitability, earning in excess of $10 billion in profit last year, they continue to demand cuts to their employees’ hard-earned wages and benefits.”
UFCW Local 1445 president Jeff Bollen in a video message to members urged workers to stick together, and continue leafleting as a means to get the company’s attention.
Thursday March 3, 2016 NEGOTIATIONS UPDATEPosted by UFCW Local 1445 on Thursday, March 3, 2016
The union is also organizing a rally at Stop & Shop’s Braintree, Mass. store on Thursday of this week.
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