Letter: Support striking Shop & Shop workers
To the editor:
As noted in the Eagle's April 11 article, ("Stop & Shop workers go on strike"), 31,000 Stop & Shop employees have walked away from shoddy and half-hearted contract offers from their corporation and walked out of their jobs. Now is the time to stand with the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) Union, representing Stop & Shop workers in their struggle for better working conditions and benefits.
Much has been said and written by Ahold Delhaize, the Dutch retail giant which owns the Stop & Shop brand, as to why they feel the UFCW's demands are impossible to fulfill. But as we all know, the company's responses have been misleading.
Ahold Delhaize claims that Stop & Shop employees are better paid than direct competitors and that they are the only unionized food retailer in the region. Be that as it may, that is no excuse to take what their workers have labored for. When better pay and benefits were on the chopping block during former negotiations last fall, the company boasted $2 billion in profit. This situation should be protested by workers of all stripes. And given that Stop & Shop is the last stronghold of unionized food retailers in our area, we ought to throw as much support behind them as possible.
The strike has support from the Teamsters, who in many instances have refused to offload their goods to striking stores, as well as the AFL-CIO. On top of that, many local and state officials in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut have joined in support.
Hold signs with your local Stop & Shop workers, bring them coffee or other refreshments, call corporate headquarters (1-800-767-7772), or do whatever you are capable of to show your support. As the slogan, popularized by IWW co-founder Bill Haywood goes, "An injury to one is an injury to all." Let's keep this is mind as many of us stand with UFCW in its struggle for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.
Dan Raftery and John Prusinski are co-chairs, Amillie Coster is communications coordinator, and Brian Hunt is secretary/treasurer of the Berkshires Democratic Socialists of America.
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