Tens of thousands Stop and Shop employees were back on a picket line Monday morning and will continue today into the fifth day of striking against the grocery store company.
At a rally yesterday at the Fall River Stop and Shop Location off Mariano Bishop Boulevard, nearly one hundred people and employees gathered with elected officials.
One of those was Massachusetts Fourth District Congressman Joseph Kennedy III, “I come here to say thank you - more than anything else. You’re fighting for not only your own families but for every single working middle-class family across this country.”
Kennedy continued to remind the people of Fall River this isn’t just a local problem but one being fought everywhere with working people against big corporations.
“This fight that you’re fighting here is being played out in community and community across this country and now it’s come to our door.”
He went on, “You’re fighting for every single family struggling to meet ends meet - for a family that has to choose between going to work for a very meager raise that goes right out the door on a healthcare cost while a parent-company (Stop and Shop) sits on two-billion in profit!”
He told the people of Fall River and the nearly hundred gathered that their elected leaders will support them
“Whatever you need - you got it from us, one-hundred percent. Keep fighting.”
Congressman Bill Keating also appeared at the Patriot’s Day rally in front of the Stop and Shop entrance off Canning Boulevard. He’s been making the rounds over the last handful of days in his travels to see how the stores have handled business without their employees.
The congressman said there was barely any business to handle.
“I looked in the windows of the Dartmouth store location. I just looked - didn’t go in. And the aisles we’re empty. The Plymouth location was completely dark. They had a banner up that said, ‘Now Hiring.’ No one was going in.”
One of the Stop and Shop workers striking, a leader at the store in Somerset had no shame telling the crowd she made less than $21.00 an hour after nearly twenty-one years of service to the company and scoffed at the offer of a fifty cent raise.
“This is coming from a corporation that profited two point one billion dollars last year and a corporation not worried about market-share,” Keating said. “They’re not suffering.”
Domenic Pontarelli, the treasurer/secretary of UFCW Local 328 said the two sides are not close to reaching a deal.
A Bristol-Norfolk state senator Paul Fenney, with ties to both Fall River and the world of unions drove down from Quincy to make an appearance and fire up the disgruntled union workers.
“We need to empower our leaders like the congressmen today to go back to the state house and tell them - we know what’s going on at Stop & Shop and we’re not going to let them run their playbook in Massachusetts!”
Stop and Shop management sat on the other side of the locations parking lot watching as their subordinates rallied and fought with their elected leaders
“Here in Fall River and at Stop & Shops across the commonwealth of Massachusetts we’re going to stand up and fight back,” Feeney roared. “You’re on ground zero. You’re on the vanguard against corporate greed a that didn’t start here at Stop and Shop but we’ll make damn sure it ends here at Stop and Shop!”
He ended his rally cry with a slogan from unions he’s been apart of, “We’re union, we’re proven - hang tough!”