April 4, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
East Hartford, Conn – More than 200 workers rallied outside the Stop & Shop supermarket here March 23, protesting the company’s demands for givebacks before it will sign a new contract with the United Food & Commercial Workers.
“They're trying to get rid of the pension,” said Wanda Joblonecki, who started as a cashier at the New Britain store in 1996 and now makes $21.15 an hour as a front-end manager. “You can't find no other job with a union that will protect you.” Their contract expired in February, and management wants to eliminate time-and-a-half pay for working Sundays and set up a two-tier system for newly hired workers, including a salary cap of $18 an hour. The East Hartford rally was one of several staged by the UFCW throughout New England, including one in Norwalk Mar. 22 that was attended by Connecticut's two U.S. senators, Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal. Patty Von Griebel, a part-time deli employee in the Rockville Stop & Shop, said it was unfair for company officials to complain about labor costs when she makes $12.65 an hour. “I'm a widow and I got a mortgage to pay and a kid at home,” she explained. Read more