MERIDEN -- It’s day four and still no answers for Stop & Shop.
A spokeswoman for the grocery giant confirmed that contract talks have reopened between them and the United Food and Commercial Workers.
The employees who stood together at the entrances of the Meriden Stop and Shop on Broad Street just want to go back to work.
“Nobody wants this,” said Union Steward Vinny Lanteri. “In all fairness, we want to come to an agreement. That’s all we're asking for.”
Stop and Shop officials say they will increase wages and give better benefits to all employees, making them some of the highest paid in the industry. The Union argues that those extra wages will be eaten up by the cost of having better benefits. They also say Stop & Shop will cut pension benefits, vacation days and sick days.
There has not yet been a response from the union in regards to Stop and Shop's newest proposal.
“I don’t want anything different from what we had,” said Kelly McDowell. “We aren’t asking for anything different we’re just asking for what’s right.”
Workers are approaching a week without pay and tell FOX61 they would lose health insurance if the strike lasts through the end of the month. Many employees are feeling the immediate financial strains.
“Unfortunately, we are all going through this and there’s 31,000 of us right now fighting for what he believe in,” said McDowell.
“We love working here,” said Donna Faust. “We love our company. I mean that’s why we’re here interacting with the customers all day.”
There has been a large outpouring of support from the community for the workers. Some drove by honking their horn in approval while others dropped off food. The largest amount of evidence of their support was the mostly empty parking lot on their busiest day of the week.
“It Looks like a semi-ghost town,” said Lanteri.
“It’s encouraging to see the humanity. People being kind to us. About something we really believe in,” said Shawn Downing
While negotiations are still ongoing, workers across the state will continue to stand together.