(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.

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

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(6) comments

DOGSRGRT

First of all, don't criticize the employers who are asking for better wages and benefits, I think that everyone deserves to do better than they currently are today. Yes unions do help us I am in one in my job and I haven't had a raise in 3 yrs, but in our contract we can't picket. And I know even when we get a raise, it is really not a raise cause the health insurance, fed and state taxes go up, and now adding a medical family leave tax to our paychecks great. All these taxes so your raise is not one. And people don't understand yes we have good health insurance but I have to pay 100. for myself only each paycheck for it., I understand others pay more but don't blame the person. One person commented that Stop and Shop workers should be happy with what they have cause others in Big Y and other grocery stores get paid much less. Well those employees choose to work there no one is forcing them too and they could always try to work at Stop and Shop too. Just like State workers get criticized in their benefits and pay stop it, cause if you really want to you could try for a state job and become a state worker too. I think it is ignorant to punish someone that sort out a good job. Everyone has the right to seek whatever type of job they desire. I think it is plain jealously on all the people that punish people in unions. And don't blame the workers for striking how about the rich company that won't come to a mutual agreement for these workers to go back to work. And I hate the self check isles they still have to have employees watching you and the registers always have problems anyway that a worked is needed much better to have a person checking people out and someone you can ask a question about the products. I hate the self checks. So what I say to these employees is stay strong and don't give in I know it is hard but I think you can collect what the heck the illegals and lay people who don't want to work get money from my tax dollars that I work hard for everyday. People criticize people that actually have jobs and work hard and go to work everyday, but they don't criticize the illegals and lazy people and the criminals who know how to work the system and get free money for doing nothing everyday of their life with my taxes. I say lower the taxes and take away money for all these non-working class of people and make them too work for their money. Go Stop and Shop workers you rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hdrider02

Stop & Shop employees earn about 30% more than non union store employees such as Big Y and Shoprite. They are the only ones with a company pension vs a 401k.
Stop and Shop can not stay competitive with these differences. Employees should be happy to be doing so much better than if they were working at a competitor.

jasper

You are correct.

Blavigne

I, for one, support everyone who wants better wages and benefits - who wouldn't?! And although the Stop & Shop union carries the burden of all those on strike, this essentially is hurting the people who shop there. Customers suffer because they can't shop locally and even affects others as well who can't get a ride to get groceries to a Stop & Shop store and now must burden others to accommodate them. Then there's the fact that everyone must eat - but we can't because there are individuals are pounding on the tables demanding pay and health care benefits that are being provisioned now. You (the ones on strike) now suffer because you have no income and can't buy food there for you or your families - we can't buy food for us or ours and on top of that, we can't buy gas there and we all lost our gas points that we earned. How far does this go to show how bad it hurts everyone?! I don't have answers for anyone, but I do know that one person's protest shouldn't negatively affect the public - we don't deserve this. But I guess this isn't about us...

jasper

Grocery workers will put themselves out of a job. Greed for being an uneducated person who wants the pay of someone who spent 6 years in college.[crying]

walbanger

Very ignorant comment by you jasper. Working men and women have been constantly losing ground for some 35+ years. Stop & Shop is owned by a foreign company who had over $2 BILLION in sales last year and just voted over $800 MILLION in dividends to their shareholders. This is not a company that is hurting. This is CORPORATE GREED at it's ugliest. They have lost me and my business FOREVER. I refuse to patronize this greedy foreign corporation who obviously does not appreciate the hard work and dedication of their own employees. Not to mention how they want their customers to "Self-Check" themselves out and feed a ROBOT. No thanks. Goodbye forever Stop & Shop.

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