CHICOPEE, Mass. – Western Massachusetts Unionized Stop and Shop workers voted for a strike authorization against the supermarket chain on Sunday morning at Knights Castle in Chicopee on Sunday.
United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1459 Union gave its managers the opportunity to call a strike, instead of accepting a contract with Stop and Shop. Stop and trade unions in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut have worked without contract since February 23.
"People came out of the Berkshires because they know how important this is to them," said Tyrone Housey, president of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1459 Union. "I love the answer and the unit that was in the meeting."
UFCW Local 1459 Union represents about 1,300 stop and shop employees. The Springfield-based Union requires better health insurance benefits, pensions, and vacation time.
UFCW Local 1459 President Tyrone Housey told 22News strike authorization vote does not necessarily mean that it will be a strike, but it gives him and the negotiating committee the authority to call for strikes if negotiations do not continue to move.
Stop & Shop Communications Manager Stefanie Shuman sent 22News a statement that said Stop & Shop negotiates in good faith with all employee associations and they are working hard to reach a contract agreement. Their contract proposals include increases in hourly wages, high quality health insurance and more vacation time.
Shuman said they are hoping to reach an agreement in negotiations planned over the next two weeks.