31,000 Stop & Shop employees around the Northeast are gearing up to enter day eight of strikes, fighting for fair wages and benefits.
Protests are affecting 92 stores around the state and business is being hit hard, especially on what should be a major money making week for the corporation with Good Friday, Passover, and Easter.
Employees from several surrounding stores and union leaders all met at the Amity Road Stop & Shop in New Haven.
Protesters heckled customers who were trying to leave by booing and blocking an entire entrance of the store.
Union representative, Jorge Cabrera, from UFCW Local 919 said the public support for workers has been overwhelming.
“We did not really expect this level of support from the public,” Cabrera said. “And every single store I’ve been to, and I’ve been to a lot of them, the parking lots are empty and customer activity is down to a trickle.”
Nicole Barbato has worked for Stop & Shop for eight years. She said she came to support her family and her manager who is she says is at risk of losing his pension after 48 years.
“We are the reason why everything is on the shelf and it’s not fair the way we’re being treated,” Barbato said.
James Mastroianni, a firefighter from South District in Middletown, came to support his union brothers and sisters.
“It is a shame what’s going on here,” Mastroianni said. “Stop & Shop needs to bargain in good faith. All these people want a fair contract. Greedy, greedy. They keeping taking.”
Outraged union leaders set paperwork from the parent company on fire, saying they are distributing propaganda.
The state treasurer, flanked by the Lieutenant Governor, took to the microphone saying Stop & Shop lost his family as customers.
More protesters are in the parking lots than customers, and now gearing up for an eighth day of strikes.
“We are all family,” Mastroianni said. “These workers are not getting paid – they’re fighting for a fair contract and to be heard.”
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