SOMERVILLE – US Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat candidate for presidency in 2020, delivered donors and coffee on Friday to stop and shop workers in Somerville, pushing buyers, their business elsewhere cross the picket line, "Warren said. "The people on the picket chain are not just understanding that they are fighting for their families. They fight for all our families. They fight for basic fairness and equality in this country. "
On Thursday, unions representing 31,000 Stop & Shop workers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut voted in favor of a strike. Their contract expired in February and they failed to reach a new deal.
Warren shook hands with the workers and encouraged them with an anti-union message.
"This is a business worth $ 2 billion In terms of profits, this has been tax-exempted in Washington by the Republicans, and now we want to squeeze our workers here in Massachusetts," Warren told the workers. "Well, we will not settle for that."
In a conversation with the reporters, Warren repeated the message she has been fighting for years that the rich use the working class. "This is the problem across the country that upper-level people think they can just take advantage of every profit and leave nothing to the working people, to the people who actually come out there and make a difference every day." Warren said.
"What people are asking for here is that they are just asking for decent wages, they are asking for health care and just as they were shot at a decent retirement," she said. Marc Perrone,
United Food & Commercial Workers International President said 243 Stop & Shop stores have been closed. Others, such as the shop in Somerville, only have a limited number of working hours and services.
Perrone said in an interview with the picket line that health insurance is the main issue in the negotiations. Although the business offered a small salary increase, this would more than offset the proposed reduction in health insurance benefits. "If you look at the whole package, it would have less money in it," Perrone said.
Stop & Shop says employees' health insurance premiums are still below the national average and would increase by $ 2 to $ 4 a week. The offered wage package is, according to the business, one of the best UFCW retail contracts in the country. The company would continue to offer a defined benefit pension plan.
The exact contract varies by trade union.
Kristen Johnson, Deli Manager in Somerville and Union Shop Steward, said she was particularly worried about the increased healthcare costs and changes that the new employee business is proposing.
"We ask our customers to shop elsewhere until we are back, until we have a fair contract. Johnson said.
UFCW residents are connected to the AFL-CIO. Steven Tolman, president of Massachusetts AFL-CIO, said: "The goal is that they come to the table with a sensible process to be fair and just and have a little dignity for the employees."