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Bloomberg has a story about how the strike late last week of some 31,000 Stop & Shop employees, all of whom are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) is both “almost unheard of” in this day and age and a matter of timing for the chain’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize.

The story says that “the discord comes at a bad time for the grocer, which generates about 60 percent of its sales from the U.S. and is trying to revive Stop & Shop after several years of sluggish performance. The company has pledged to invest up to $150 million annually in the 413-unit chain, remodeling stores to devote more space to categories like fresh produce and meat.”

Stop & Shop isn’t making the investment on a whim; the fact is that toughening competition, both from online retailers and an array of bricks-and-mortar retailers ranging from Whole Foods to Aldi, has demanded that Stop & Shop do something with an aging fleet of stores.

Bloomberg writes that “the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and the company disagree on health-care benefits, pensions and Sunday premium pay,” with some quarters describing the distance between the two sides as a “big gap.”
KC's View:
Drove by a couple of Stop & Shop stores near me this weekend, and it looked as if there were more protestors walking the picket lines than there were cars in the parking lots.

I know I didn’t go in - I live with two members of the teachers union, and so in our household we respect picket lines.

I cannot imagine that Stop & Shop wants this to go on very long … as Bloomberg correctly points out, there is much for the company to do, and distractions like these aren’t good for business.