Workers at Hannaford’s South Portland distribution center could soon go on strike after more than 200 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union overwhelmingly authorized a strike last weekend.
After negotiating for more than a month, the union rejected the company’s final contract proposal. Tom Brown with the union says the problem the workers have with the contract boil down to two primary issues.
“The people really feel like the company is sticking their nose up at them, and they’re not deserving of a decent raise and a fair and equitable percentage of the health care,” he says.
Brown says Hannaford’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize, has put forth a cost-neutral contract that would pay for any increases in certain areas by cutting costs in others. One cut that workers didn’t find acceptable was the hiring wage, which according to Brown would drop to $15 an hour, about $5 an hour less than what it is currently.
“God bless the workers, they felt this was wrong, and they stood by the people who have not even started working there yet,” he says.
Brown says Ahold Delhaize can afford to pay good wages and a higher share of medical costs. The company’s fourth-quarter sales rose to nearly $20 billion last year.
Several hours after the union announced on Monday they authorized a strike, a spokeswoman for Delhaize America Distribution, Christy Phillips-Brown, issued a written statement that the parties have agreed to meet next Monday, and that there will be no strike pending mediation.
This story was originally published Feb. 19, 2018 at 4:28 p.m. ET.