This is Boston, Massachusetts, the largest city in New England which is dominated by a single grocery store chain, Stop & Shop. Stop & Shop also happens to be one of the last major unionized grocery store chains in the country, and on April 11, workers went on strike to prevent Stop & Shop from reducing their wages and benefits. These workers were largely striking just to keep what they already had. At over 240 stores, the workers withheld their labor and went on strike to force Stop & Shop to meet their demands. [How do you feel the negotiation process has been so far?] Not good. Not on our end, on the company’s end. They just they don’t want to budge, they’ve dug their heels in the ground, and they just have not moved. I don’t think we asking for much. All we want is our piece of the pie. That’s all. You can have your piece of the pie. We really don’t care but can we get our piece? The corporation sees you just as they see us, as dollars. It sees you as a unit at which it makes profit. So it’s unfair for them to take us and throw us to the curb and say you’re not worth it anymore. Our parent company made $2 billion dollars in profit last year so the fact that they’re now saying to stay competitive we need to get rid of all your benefits? It’s just not fair. And they’re saying that they’re not cutting health benefits, but they are. They’re saying that they’re not cutting Sunday time and a half, which they are. As long as you guys go in there, we’re going to be out here. You know? And that’s the whole point. We’re out here because of unfair labor practices. Finally, after striking for 11 days, the workers forced the company to agree
to a tentative contract that met the union’s demands. The workers won by withholding their labor from over 240 grocery stores in the region. The strike highlights the power of collective action and just goes to show that improving the quality of life for working people requires not only stronger unions, but democratic worker control of the economy.