A union representing 10,000 Massachusetts Stop & Shop workers says it won't go on strike for at least another week.
The grocery chain and its union workers remain far apart in talks to renew a contract that expired last week, according to Local 1445 of the United Food and Commercial Workers. Union political director Jim Carvalho said Friday that the two sides are not close to a deal that protects health-care and retirement benefits, and won't go back to the negotiating table until next Thursday and Friday.
But even though workers have voted to authorize a strike, Carvalho said they won't walk off the job before the next round of talks.
"Our members continue to work and do the fantastic job that they do," he said. "I'm sure they'll be busy with the snow storms the next couple days. We've been having great, great support from the customers in the stores."
Stop & Shop declined an interview request but issued a statement: “We are continuing to negotiate in good faith with the UFCW locals on strong new contracts that ensure Stop & Shop continues to be a great place to work, with competitive wages and benefits for associates, while also overcoming the substantial challenges we are facing in the rapidly changing New England food retail market.”
The company added that its full-time workers “are among the highest paid grocery workers in the region” -- a claim Carvalho confirmed.
Stop & Shop is negotiating contracts with five unions simultaneously, but only UFCW Local 1445 has authorized a strike.