(WFSB) - A strike of tens of thousands of Stop & Shop employees across New England is approaching a week.
The impact of the strike continues to snowball.
On Wednesday, produce sections were bare at a local Stop & Shop store in Hartford. The meats, deli, and bakery counters were also empty.
Peapod deliveries have been put on hold, which means some customers who depend on the service have no way of getting groceries.
One of them is Ric Silver of Groton, who said he's unable to drive.
"I have to ask someone else to take me to the store and beg for somebody else to help me and I shouldn’t have to do that," Silver said.
At the same time, local vendors who sell to Stop & Shop said they aren't getting the big orders they need.
Stop & Shop said it hasn't had fresh food deliveries since the strike started.
The supermarket and the workers' union continue to fight over pensions and health benefits.
Stop & Shop argues that it offers some of the best benefits in New England with it comes to grocery stores.
Channel 3 was the first station to break the story last Thursday.
On Wednesday night, workers, along with state and federal leaders, rallied in New Haven.
"I'm just in awe. I'm amazed, I love this. There's power in numbers. This is making me happy, almost want to cry," said Skip Robinson.
Union workers were joined by leaders at the national level.
"If it takes a day, a week, a month, a year, we will be there supporting them," said Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President.
"The future of Connecticut and working people in Connecticut is really what is at risk if Stop and Shop fails to do the right thing," said Senator Richard Blumenthal.
"Stop and Shop tells us we’re a family, honestly in my heart of hearts they can end this anytime they want," said Jeff Doyle, of South Windsor.
Bargaining continued on Wednesday over pay, pension, and healthcare. All of it is at stake for 31,000 workers in New England, and about 8,000 workers picketing in Connecticut.
"They’re living paycheck to paycheck, they need to be able to afford their everyday life and be able to have a home at the end of all of this," said Katherine Mamed, of John J. Driscoll United Labor Agency.
In a statement, Stop & Shop's president said "Stop & Shop recognizes the valuable role our associates play in creating a great experience for you. They are a part of your lives, a part of our community, and key to our success."
A Middletown mom said she misses her job at the deli counter.
She visited the food pantry in Hartford at the United Labor Agency, picking up bags full of eggs, meat, and canned food.
"It’s tough now just trying to make it now so this is really really helping, I have maybe two more meals left," said Monique Lapointe.
Now she'll miss two paychecks, including this past week striking and a vacation week before that.
Based on information from both sides, a major point in negotiations is overtime and half pay on Sundays and holidays for current and new employees.
Local grocery stores feeling the effects
As the Stop & Shop strike continues, shoppers are going elsewhere for their groceries.
At West Side Market in Rocky Hill, management and regulars have seen a lot of new faces.
Long-time employees know their customers, and what they want.
Since the strike began last Thursday, business has intensified.
“I’m with them. I’m union man. It’s their rights. You’re exposing yourself to other stores, I have to have to shop somewhere,” said Michael Sayed, of Cromwell.
Every department is busy, and in the meat department, hams are flying out the door as Easter approaches.
“Right now, we’ve got a good supply of hams. We’re out of one brand Carrando right now but we’re expecting more in tomorrow,” said Chris Romeo, vice president of West Side.
He said business has been steady ever since the picket lines went up last week.
“We’re probably seeing between a 35-45% increase in business and our customer count has gone up dramatically,” Romeo said.