The United Food & Commercial Workers, which is currently in the midst of tough negotiations with grocery giant Stop & Shop, just got an unexpected boost from an unlikely source—a descendent of the grocery chain’s original founders, Deb Goldberg.
Since 2015, Goldberg also happens to be Massachusetts’ State Treasurer.
“This behavior is the opposite extreme of what my family and I represented and what our relationships were with our families, our workers, our unions,” Goldberg said to NPR.
Goldberg’s family began what is now the Stop & Shop chain in 1892, when Russian-immigrants Solomon and Jeanie Rabinovitz opened a small grocery store in Boston’s North End.
Over the years, the family business grew into what became called Stop & Shop in the mid-1940s.
Although things were not always rosy with the union while Goldberg’s family ran it–the union struck in 1985 and 1988–two of the UFCW locals Stop & Shop is currently negotiating with endorsed her 2014 candidacy for State Treasurer.
Goldberg’s family was forced out of the business in the late 1980s as the result of a hostile corporate takeover.
“Yes, there were days where you’d fight like hell, you’d take your positions, you’d come to a fair agreement and you’d move forward,” she said.
And the current owners are going too far, Goldberg stated.
“If you were to interview any Stop & Shop employee that worked with my family, they would tell you they would give anything to have us back,” she said.
Stop & Shop is scheduled to meet with the UFCW again on Wednesday.
The union’s contract expired on February 23rd. Stop & Shop workers voted to authorize a strike in the subsequent weeks.