Unionized Stop & Shop employees at 48 Long Island locations,...

Unionized Stop & Shop employees at 48 Long Island locations, including this store in Woodmere, voted Thursday night to authorize a strike. Credit: Johnny Milano

Unionized meat, seafood and deli workers, along with other employees at Stop & Shop supermarkets across Long Island, authorized a strike Thursday evening after months of contract negotiations.

Around 1,230 members of UFCW Local 342 held a vote Thursday evening on whether they would go on strike after eight months of negotiations following the expiration of their contract in October. Membership includes mostly meat and seafood workers at 68 Stop & Shop stores across the Northeast.

The supermarket has 50 locations in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Officials with the union said there had been minimal progress at the bargaining table, leading to the need for a strike vote. The vote was unanimous, union officials said. 

“We have been working for eight months without a contract and have had at least 30 bargaining sessions, all with minimal movement,” Deana Abondolo, president of Local 342, said in a statement.

“Our membership voted unanimously to strike if necessary,” Abondolo said. “We will continue to try to resolve this without a strike, but we absolutely will strike if they force us.”

Strike authorization votes do not mean a strike or work stoppage will occur, but they give union leadership authority to call for a strike if negotiations fall through.

“It’s been a very slow go, and there’s been a lot of resistance on the company’s end,” said Keeley Lampo, director of activities and communications for Local 342. The union continued bargaining with the company Friday, she said. 

The grocery chain said early Thursday it was hopeful a deal would be reached.

“Stop & Shop continues to negotiate in good faith with Local 342, which represents our meat, seafood, and deli associates in New York, and strike authorization votes are a standard part of the negotiation process,” the company said in a statement. 

Among the union’s biggest goals throughout bargaining has been the inclusion of language pertaining to future uses of artificial intelligence and automation tools, Lampo said.

While it may not be clear how AI or robotics could be used in the future, Lampo said it was important for members to have something in writing that would allow the union to renegotiate if such topics arise.

“If AI does come into these stores, we want a chance to sit down at the table to make sure our members are safe,” Lampo said.

Additionally, the union has requested information regarding hours, scheduling and potential store closings that the company has yet to provide, union officials said. Last month, Stop & Shop’s parent company, supermarket group Ahold Delhaize, announced plans to close an undisclosed number of underperforming stores this year.

“There’s no give,” Lampo said. “The refusal to provide information when it comes to hours is a major issue.”

The strike vote was held at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale during a union meeting.

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