Updated April 23 @ 10:30 am
The Vineyard Haven Stop & Shop opened for business Tuesday morning, a day after the rest of the chain’s stores throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut reopened. Some of its shelves remained bare as the store awaits shipments.
Stores had been closed since union workers walked off the job April 11 to join picket lines. A tentative agreement was reached between The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and Stop & Shop Sunday night.
The agreement includes wage increases, and preserves health care and retirement benefits, among other things, according to a press release from UFCW.
On Monday, an ABC Disposal Service truck collected trash from a bin outside the back of the Vineyard Haven store, spilling some of the fruits, vegetables, and other perishables disposed as a result of the strike. Some of the apples and oranges rolled into the street and the nearby parking lot before being swept up and put into the garbage truck.
On Sunday night, union officials praised the agreement that was reached and the public support workers received during the strike.
On Sunday night, union officials praised the agreement that was reached and the public support during the strike.
“We are incredibly grateful to our customers and everyone who proudly stood together with us every day for a contract that invests in the communities we serve, and makes Stop & Shop a better place to work and a better place to shop. Under this proposed contract, our members will be able to focus on continuing to help customers in our communities enjoy the best shopping experience possible and to keep Stop & Shop the number one grocery store in New England. The agreement preserves health care and retirement benefits, provides wage increases, and maintains time-and-a-half pay on Sunday for current members. Today is a powerful victory for the 31,000 hardworking men and women of Stop & Shop who courageously stood up to fight for what all New Englanders want – good jobs, affordable health care, a better wage, and to be treated right by the company they made a success,” the UFCW release reads.
The Vineyard Haven store has been closed throughout the 10 days of the strike and remained closed Monday morning. A store clerk told people trying to get in that the store remains closed while workers prep the store to reopen. Stop & Shop’s director of external communications and community outreach Jennifer Brogan said Stop & Shop is working to reopen the store “as soon as possible,” but could not give a definitive timeline of when that would happen.
Meanwhile, the Edgartown store remained open throughout the strike, but had few people crossing the picket lines. On Monday, employees who had been on strike less than 24 hours prior could be seen back at work restocking empty shelves. Both Cronig’s stores and Reliable in Oak Bluffs have seen a significant uptick in customers over the 10 days.
The union includes Locals 371, 919, 1445, 1459, and 328. The Vineyard Haven and Edgartown Stop & Shops belong to Local 328 which is based in Providence, R.I.
Jessica Raimundo, UFCW’s press contact, told The Times in a phone conversation Sunday evening she could not specify how much wages were increased, but said union members are reviewing the agreement before taking a vote.
“We are very pleased to announce Stop & Shop has reached fair new tentative agreements with UFCW Locals,” Brogan, said in a release. “We’re also glad to have our associates return to work as the strike has ended.”
Brogan added the tentative agreement is awaiting ratification votes by members of each union locals, but includes increased pay, continued health care coverage, and ongoing pension benefits.
“Our associates’ top priority will be restocking our stores so we can return to taking care of our customers and communities and providing them with the service they deserve. We deeply appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers during this time, and we look forward to welcoming them back to Stop & Shop,” Stop & Shop’s statement reads.
In an email to customers, Stop & Shop president Mark McGowan said a tentative agreement had been reached.
“You may have heard about, or been affected by the strike that occurred in our Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island stores,” McGowan said. “This strike was hard for all of us. But we got to a resolution that does right by our associates and our business, so we can all keep serving our customers and communities. Thank you. For being patient. For your understanding. For sticking with us.”
Updated to include more details as they unfolded on Monday – Ed.