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In Nantucket, the residents face a Stop & Shop strike dilemma







Living on an island means you do not always get what you want.

Throughout the year, residents of Nantucket have come to terms with the fact that there are not many doctors' practices, hardware stores and year-round restaurants on the island – and only one supermarket chain: Stop & Shop.

But as the grocer's workers go on strike last week, closing a stop-shop on the island and reducing service on the other hand, Nantucket residents face a new dilemma: are they crossing the picket line? Pay extra in small organic grocery stores and fish markets for boutiques? Or do you take the ferry to the Cape and shop there, carry your bags in a taxi or pay a large sum to bring your car?

And with Easter approaching and the Daffodil Festival starting the following season weekend ̵

1; with thousands of visitors and owners of summer houses – the need for food will only increase.

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The strike, involving 31,000 workers in 240 stores in three states, started abruptly on the last Thursday afternoon when workers got the reputation of their union, the United Food & Commercial Workers, to quit the job. The workers – 75 percent of whom are part-time, according to the union – left the cheese unpeeled, the cupcakes unlicensed and have been picketing ever since. They are protesting against the proposed increases in health care costs and lowering the contributions of part-time workers and new hires.


Trade unions estimate that dozens of shops are closed, and that working hours and services are limited elsewhere. Shipments to some businesses in the region have also been delayed as union leaders refuse to cross picket posts and block striking workers.

Many of the more than 11,000 residents of Nantucket are worried about the strike all year round, doing what they can to avoid shopping at the store. However, the close community is also concerned about low-income residents who can not afford to take their business elsewhere and have no choice but to patronize Stop & Shop, where bakery, seafood and deli counters are closed and that Meat and The product selection is limited.

Employees and managers across the region were led to help in the Nantucket stores, said Stop & Shop spokeswoman Jennifer Brogan.

"We Understand Importance We are committed to providing food to the people, and we are committed to doing everything we can to minimize the disruption to our Nantucket customers and to continue serving the island community," she said in an e-mail.

Kris Kinsley Hancock, a photographer who has lived on the island year-round since 1989, went to Bartlett's farm to buy berries, lettuce and vegetables, and received one of the last containers of almond milk, but said many Items are sold out. Her husband came back from a doctor's visit outside the island with a cool box of Whole Foods milk and yogurt. The family also has a supply of soup, cereal, granola bars, Mac and cheese, and toiletries in case the power goes down or the ferries stop running, which may come in handy.

"We're weathering the Stop & Shop storm," she said.

The shelves at Cumberland Farms convenience store were also decimated, said Amy Eldridge, who had to visit a second location in Cumberland Farms to buy milk, Eldridge, a Nantucket native and deputy manager at a dry-cleaning facility, tasted ten items for their expenses.

A number of specialty stores ordered more groceries to meet their demand However, their prices are too high for those who rely on food stamps or other aids, online ordering is not an option for many, she said, especially if they need baby food or diapers right away

"The community is suffering," said Eldridge, "This is a very high quality island, and many of these boutiques are si It was designed to meet the needs of the summer population. "

As the wife of a Teamsters union member, she said she would not go over the picket line. And she gets angry when she sees politicians supporting the strikers but not helping the residents of Nantucket.

"We got stuck somehow," she said. "I try shopping where I do not spend $ 25 on a plate, because at that point, I could just go to a restaurant to be cheaper."

Karen Theroux, a real estate manager and 30-year-old resident of Nantucket, was eager to buy daffodils and other spring flowers last week. Stop & Shop had a lot, but she was reluctant to move on to Bartlett's, where she also bought bread and cheese. "Her prices are crazy," she said.

Besides, Theroux ate a lot of pasta and sandwiches and worked her way through her freezer and pantry. But she knows this is not sustainable: "You can not live on peanut butter forever," she said.

She has planned a ferry off the island to have her car wait on Monday and meet BJ's or Trader Joe in Hyannis. She knows that some people have no choice but to go to Stop & Shop, but she wonders what they find in it.

"When you cross the picket line, you want at least something decent when you get there," she said.

On Wednesday afternoon, some people took a ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket to avoid Stop & Shop. Rubidia Escobar, housekeeper in several houses on Nantucket, filled herself with milk, sour cream and sugar in the cart in Bourne. Cindy Whitlock, who came to Washington with her husband and grandson Washington, gathered at Shaw's in Hyannis on the way to her daughter, who works at the airport.

"My daughter called to say that there is not much left on Nantucket If we want something to eat this week, we'll get something to eat," Whitlock said.

Some residents, of course, cross the picket.

Karen Macumber, the owner of the Sherburne Inn on Nantucket, still goes to Stop & Shop – a journey she makes almost daily for fruit, yogurt, cereal, and muffins, because trucks owned by dealers like Sysco do not drive her narrow street

However, Macumber went to Bartlett's and Nantucket Meat & Fish Market to check their product choices, but she does assume that she has at least to buy yogurt at Stop & Shop and "hope not everything has expired. "

The negative impact that the strike has on them and they are exercising other small business owners" It's a tough situation for them, "said Macumber, who commented on the increased demand during the Daffodil festivals worries.

"If I have to choose between my business and trying to support the workers," she said, "my business comes first."

Katie Johnston is available at katie.johnston@globe.com Follow her on Twitter @ktkjohnston .


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