All five locals from New England (328,371,919,1445,1459) met over the last three days with your employer at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island.

We heard on Thursday from Senior Vice President of Operations of the Northern Division Stacy Wiggins.

Ms. Wiggins gave us their presentation of the state of the business. It was the same old doom and gloom that we heard three years ago. Business is down and they pay too much for your wages and benefits compared to the competition, and the competition is stealing their business.  This contradicts with the fact that the Company has seen record profits in the fourth quarter of last year and Stop & Shop, as stated by Ms. Wiggins, is profitable. Many of the rank and file members addressed Ms. Wiggins as well as the company’s negotiation team and questioned them on many of the problems that exist in stores across New England- from out of stocks to lack of help and uniforms in the stores. The Company believes that this is not a problem.

Both sides have made movement on our non-economic proposals dealing with language, but we have not yet exchanged any economic proposals.

We have three dates scheduled for next week in Providence and we will continue to work to get a fair contract for the members of 371.

All the locals are in lock step in our position to take our time and get the deal that you deserve.  We are in no rush to get a bad deal. We need everyone in the stores to stay strong and stick together and show your employer that you support the unions in our work on your behalf.  Remember, our strength is our unity, and our unity is our strength!   Also, check out the commercial that will begin airing this weekend.

Local 371 leadership and our member committee consisting of Fred Musante, David Nardi, Eileen Antolini, Denise Tartaglia, and Bruce Cook joined with our brothers and sisters from Locals 328, 919, 1445 and 1459 to begin bargaining with Stop and Shop this week in Providence CT.  We met for three days, and discussed many issues that affect your quality of life at work.  We will meet again next week, and have several dates for bargaining scheduled in the weeks ahead.  We continue to stay united in our desire to send a message to Stop and Shop that our members work hard and have earned a better life for themselves and their families.

Our shop stewards conference was a great success this year.  The stewards were able to hear from several elected officials and their union officers.  They also were able to hear about many new union benefits, and learned how to best communicate the value of the union with all of our Local 371 members.  The stewards also had time to share ideas with each other.