CHICOPEE, Mass. – Union workers at the unionized Westwood stop and store voted in favor of strike action against the supermarket chain Sunday morning at the Castle of Knights in Chicopee on Sunday.
Section 1459 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union has granted its officers the power to strike rather than accept a contract with Stop and Shop. Stop and Shop unionized workers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut have been working without a contract since February 23.
"The people came from the Berkshires because they know how important it is to them," said Tyrone Housey, president of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union 1459. "I am delighted with the response and unity that characterized the meeting."
UFCW Local 1459 represents approximately 1,300 employees stationed and in-store. The Springfield-based union is demanding better health, retirement and vacation benefits.
The president of UFCW Local 1459, Tyrone Housey, told 22News that the strike vote does not necessarily mean that there will be a strike, but that the bargaining committee has the right to strike. power to call for strike if negotiations do not continue.
Stop & Shop Communications Manager Stefanie Shuman sent a statement to 22News stating that Stop & Shop was negotiating in good faith with all the workers' unions and was working hard to reach an agreement on contract. Their contract proposal includes hourly wage increases, high quality health insurance and more vacations.
Shuman said they hoped to reach an agreement during the negotiating sessions scheduled over the next two weeks.