(WFSB) - Thursday marked day eight of a strike for Stop & Shop employees.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said he'll be joining picketers on Thursday.

He said he plans to speak outside of a store in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood.

Wednesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal joined union workers in Connecticut.

"The future of Connecticut and working people in Connecticut is really what is at risk if Stop & Shop fails to do the right thing," Blumenthal said.

The union and Stop & Shop are still at the negotiating table.

Stop & Shop's most recent offer involved healthcare premiums it said were still below the national average, a pay increase for associates and continued pension benefits.

In a recent statement, Stop & Shop's president said "As negotiations on a new contract continue, I know we are all united in our hope that this situation is resolved soon and that we can all get our energies back to being fully focused on our customers."

However, the union said the proposal actually increases workers weekly healthcare premiums by hundreds of dollars, phases out time-and-a-half pay on Sundays and holidays and reduces monthly pension benefits for many workers.

Channel 3 was the first station to break the story one week ago.

On Thursday, Stop & Shop workers said they're not going anywhere.

“Its been a week and I’m very proud of all my co-workers here," said Pat Valdez, a Stop & Shop employee.

While many Stop & Shop locations are open with limited service, for the most part, the parking lots are clear.

Not only does it seem, many shoppers are with them, but so are other union members too.

For some, desperation is sinking in, and some are looking for other jobs.

"Eventually, what do you do if you have money coming in? Bills don't know a strike. Bills will still show up on your front door," said Ismael Roman. 

That feeling of despair may have played a role when one union worker in Western Massachusetts decided to break off and cross the picket line. 

Channel 3 spoke with the Northampton Stop & Shop worker over the phone, and through the National Right to Work Foundation, we've learned he was allegedly told by UFCW officials that if he returned to work he'd be fired. 

The foundation said employees have the right at any time to revoke their union membership and go back to work during a strike and it's now filing a federal unfair labor practice charge against the union. 

"There are going to be people who say, 'I have to cross, I have no choice, I have to put food on the table for my baby, my wife, kids.' I understand the frustration," Roman said. 

On Thursday morning, New Haven firefighters stopped by the Whalley Avenue store, offering coffee, doughnuts, and encouragement.

“It just keeps us going, knowing we have all that support,” Valdez said.

At the Amity Road Stop & Shop, John Lupoli, who’s been with the company for 45 years, says while he’s done okay, it’s the part timers he’s most worried about.

“Most of my co-workers are part time and they leave here to get on a bus to go to work at their second job,” he said.

Stay with Eyewitness News for updates.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(1) comment

Well Educated Liberal

I feel so bad for these poor people. stop and plop needs to give the union what they demand. No questions asked. The employees need to sue the greedy corporation for their lost wages because they were forced to go on strike. Sue them into bankruptcy.
#Warren/Harris2020 #HillaryisMYPresident #I'mStillWithHer #neverdrumpf #resist #impeach #unionstrong

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