Scabs Recruited as 40,000 New England Grocery Workers Prepare To Strike

by Bruce Vail

"Instead of spending the money on setting up these [replacement worker] hiring centers, why don't they spend the money on their existing employees?" asks Taunette Greene, a 39-year Stop & Shop employee on the union's negotiating team.

“Instead of spending the money on setting up these [replacement worker] hiring centers, why don’t they spend the money on their existing employees?” asks Taunette Greene, a 39-year Stop & Shop employee on the union’s negotiating team.

A leading supermarket chain in New England began recruiting scabs on a large scale this week as the union representing some 40,000 of its workers girds for a potential strike later this month.Stop & Shop, with more than 250 grocery stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, opened 14 recruitment sites across the region with the goal of hiring “replacement workers,” confirms company spokeswoman Suzi Robinson. The recruits would replace members of five local units of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union in the event of a strike or lockout on February 24, when current collective bargaining agreements expire. The hitch in negotiations has been over the implementation of the federal Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.“We must prepare for the worst,” regional union leaders told rank-and-file members in an online contract negotiations update on February 1. Talks are continuing, but the core disagreement of healthcare costs remains unresolved.

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