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We Need to Win This
Mobilize Labor to
Shut Down Stop & Shop!
UFCW picketers in Connecticut on the first night of the
strike. (Photo: UFCW)
APRIL 12 – After much delay and with much anticipation,
tens of thousands of workers at supermarket chain Stop
& Shop organized in five different locals of the
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union have gone
on strike in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Strike authorization votes passed by wide margins earlier
in the year, yet it has taken until now, with the
company’s provocative “final offer” – including drastic
cuts to take-home pay, cutting vacation weeks and wages,
increasing health care costs passed along to the
employees, etc. – for the union tops to pull the trigger.
Now, finally, THE STRIKE IS ON! 31,000
workers at 240 stores across New England have their
livelihoods at stake. All of labor, working people and
defenders of workers’ rights must pitch in to WIN
THIS FIGHT. The company is threatening
to bring in “replacement workers” – scabs – in an attempt
to break the strike. What’s needed to stop these arrogant
and greedy bloodsuckers in their tracks is to mobilize all
of New England labor, and their allies, to build
mass picket lines that nobody dare cross!
Stop & Shop claims that average pay is $21 per hour,
which is way less than what’s needed to make ends meet.
You can’t raise a family on that. Yet S&S cashiers in
Massachusetts make on average less than $16,000 a year,
and part-time workers in Local 919 with eight years on the
job earn less than $13 an hour – says the company!
Meanwhile, S&S’ parent company raked in over $2
billion in profits last year.
Stop & Shop workers need a big raise
just to take account of increased costs due to inflation.
No to a wage cap! All workers need full
health-care coverage, paid for by the employer, not
skyrocketing medical bills. No concessions!
Workers have fought hard over many years for
defined-benefit pensions, adequate paid vacation time, and
premium pay for Sunday work. No givebacks!
Lower wages and benefits for new hires only serve to
divide workers and fatten company profits. No
divisive two-tier contract!
Throughout New England, the Teamsters Union, who
represent Stop & Shop warehouse workers and drivers,
have declared that they won’t make deliveries or cross
picket lines. We applaud this recognition of union
solidarity – and call for more! Hotel workers in
Connecticut have declared that they will refuse service to
scabs shipped in to bust the strike. This is the type of
action we need to win, not appeals to the bosses’
mediation courts or local Democratic politicians. All
workers and their allies among the oppressed must
rally behind the embattled UFCW workers and shut down
Stop & Shop!
Across the country, the largest wave of strikes since the
1970s is in progress. It began last year with teachers and
other education workers in West Virginia, and moved onward
to school districts in Oklahoma, Arizona and Colorado.
Locally and across the country, it continued with the
successful Marriott hotel strike in Boston and elsewhere.
Since then, Boston-area hotel and dining hall workers have
benefitted from the Marriott strikers’ struggle with
Teachers struck again this year in Chicago, Los Angeles
and Oakland, California. Meanwhile, across the southern
U.S. border in Matamoros, Mexico, tens of thousands of
horribly oppressed workers in the maquiladoras
(free trade zone plants producing for the U.S. market)
struck in defiance of courts and cops and their own
misleaders, winning a 20% raise plus half a year’s back
pay. The strikes there are continuing at a Coca-Cola
bottling plant where strikers have camped out at the
entrance, with 24/7 picket lines that scabs cannot,
because they dare not, cross.
This underscores the international scope of the struggle
between capital and labor, between the workers whose
blood, sweat and tears generates the profits that the
bosses accumulate. UFCW leaders plaster the Stars and
Stripes banner of U.S. imperialism on picket signs. They
appeal to U.S. nationalism at rallies decrying Stop &
Shop’s Dutch parent company, Ahold Delhaize, calling for
keeping profits in the US. But strikers must understand
that their allies are the oppressed and exploited workers
all over the globe in all lands, not the bosses and their
politicians in the United States.
In particular, workers
in the United States they must organize in defense of
our immigrant sisters and brothers. UFCW-organized
plants have been repeatedly raided by the I.C.E.
kidnappers. Last summer, 150 men and women at the Fresh
Mark meat-processing plants in Ohio were ripped from
their families. The UFCW has joined other unions in
forming the Working Families United coalition to defend
Temporary Protected Status recipients under the gun from
the vicious Trump administration.
But words and billboards are not enough, and appeals to
Democratic politicians are worthless, as they have proven
themselves just as anti-immigrant as the Republicans,
militarizing the border and deporting millions. Instead,
what’s needed are workers actions to stop
deportations! In the New England area, we call
upon Stop & Shop strikers to take up the cases of
Wayzaro Walton in Hartford, Connecticut; Siham Byah, in
Boston; Akana-by Adjenodar in Lowell, Massachusetts; and
so many others. Workers of the world, unite!
Stop & Shop has pointed to the fact that they are the
only fully unionized grocery store chain in New England,
and claim that they need to cut costs to stay
“competitive.” This BS underscores the pressing necessity
to launch organizing campaigns at Aldi’s, Big Y, Market
Basket, Shaw’s, Walmart and Whole Foods, among others. Organize
The UFCW tops have already shown too much temporizing and
foot-dragging since January in their negotiations with the
company. Strikers should elect rank-and-file strike
committees to wage the hard class struggle
necessary to win this fight! No reliance on Democratic
Party phony “friend of labor” politicians; mobilize
Teamsters and teachers, UNITE-HERE hotel workers, USW gas
workers, CWA and IBEW phone workers, and SEIU and IAM
airport workers to BUILD MASS PICKET LINES TO SHUT
DOWN STOP & SHOP!
Victory to the UFCW Stop & Shop