Picket lines greet customers at reopening Stop & Shop stores amid strike

Most Stop & Shop stores were back open Friday despite workers walking off the job Thursday, but it was hardly business as usual.

Some 31,000 Stop & Shop workers across New England walked off the job yesterday. They've been working without a contract since February.
Many workers remain on the picket lines. News 12 Connecticut's John Craven was in Norwalk at the Stop & Shop on Connecticut Avenue, one of the stores that was back open.
The doors opened around lunchtime, but Craven compared the shop to a ghost town – with almost no cashiers and almost no one behind counters as workers remained on strike for a second day.

Picket lines greeted customers.

"I honestly didn't know what was happening,” said Alexandra Dixon, of Norwalk. “I didn't know; I thought that they were maybe picketing for something. I didn't realize that they were even employees."

"Nobody wants to be standing out here,” one worker told News 12 Connecticut. “We want to work; we want to go inside."
But striking workers insist they'll stay out until the company rolls back plans to charge more for health insurance. New hires would also make less money. Stop & Shop says it's just trying to stay competitive and keep prices down for customers.

The strike is impacting more than workers and customers. News 12 spotted a delivery truck and its load of plants heading back to Massachusetts.
"It affects everybody, yeah.  I mean, delivery guys.  We've got people who do runs -- chips and bread and local,” said Joseph Mazas, of UFCW Local 317.

Workers are determined but scared. They can collect unemployment, but it only covers half their salary.

"I will just do all kinds of means to make money, you know?  Like driving a taxi or something,” said Stop & Shop employee Victor James.

And some customers decided to stay away.

"That's a valid gripe that they have, so I'll go somewhere else,” said Bob Zisek, of Redding.

Business appeared down today, but News 12 Connecticut saw a steady stream of people coming in to shop.

It was unclear though whether the company and the union were even meeting today.