Stop & Shop workers back on the picket line for the second day. They are on strike for better pay and healthcare after weeks of failed talks.
Customers are feeling pressure after striking workers try to persuade customer after customer to not cross the picket line and enter the store.
The dispute between corporate leaders and union workers has been ongoing since January. Now, day three of a strike that has closed many stores and left others open with minimal temporary workers.
Joe Renaldi the Assistant Gorcery Manager and is a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Renaldi said, “They’re trying to take everything from us. Double and triple our medical, make Sunday a regular day.”
Workers say Stop & Shop wants to make significant cuts to their healthcare, retirement and wages.
But the company says it is offering pay increases for all associates and health care with premiums below national averages.
Web Extra: What you need to know about the Stop & Shop strike, day 3
Denise Tartaglia is a Local Shop Steward (Local 371) who has been at the table with Stop & Shop since January. News 8 spole to her at the New Haven location.
“The company just stuck their feet in the ground and they did not want to budge at all so we’ve been fighting back and forth since then,” said Tartaglia.
Germaine Blake of Bridgeport works in the meat department at the Hamden location. Blake said, “I work, I have kids at home. You know at the end of the day these guys profited 2 billion dollars.”
Shoppers who dared to cross the picket line say they saw few workers inside.
Many people honked horns and heeded workers who urged them to shop at competitor stores.
Allison Champlin of Hamden frequently shops at the Hamden Stop & Shop. Chaplin said, “I shop here every week and I see these faces and we don’t want to disappoint them and go in and support them.”
Charles Williams, a shopper from Hamden said, “So it was an easy decision for you to walk away? Yeah, it was. There are a lot of stores around here and the bottom line this is an issue that has to be dealt with and I don’t want to complicate it.”
Some striking workers were really digging in, angry about pay, overtime, and healthcare, picketers were tough on shoppers crossing the line.
Teyanna Carey, a shopper at the Hartford location said, “It kind of took me by surprise, because they were harsh…when we came out they were kind of sarcastic, and said thanks for the support…I did feel a little bit bad at that point.”
Mayor Toni Harp hugged and encouraged workers picketing at the closed New Haven store on Whalley Avenue.
“The neighborhood is invested in this place and these are neighborhood people who have supported it for years,” said Mayor Harp. “These people need their jobs. They need good paying jobs with decent benefits.”
Web Extra: How Hartford customers are impacted by the Stop & Shop strike
Web Extra: News 8 visits Stop & Shop in Hamden, Day 2
Web Extra: News 8 visits Stop & Shop Glastonbury, Branford, and Clinton locations