Jun 11, 2010

Striking Shaw's workers ask Supervalu investors to take a stand

This week, with the Shaw's strike in Methuen entering its 14th week, workers descended on State Street Bank in Downtown Boston to ask the company - which is the third largest shareholder in Supervalu, the parent company of Shaw's - to take a stand against Supervalu's refusal to settle the strike.

Strikers and Massachusetts labor leaders met with top State Street executives, including Shawn Johnson, the head of State Street Global Advisors and Chairman of its Investment Committee. Here is a bit of what workers and their allies had to say:

"We've helped this company to succeed," said Mike Upton. "We don't ask for a lot. We've sacrificed in the past to maintain good health benefits. But this year, despite everything we've done, the company was just unwilling to negotiate."

"Now we've got no choice but to go outside the box and expand the strike," said UFCW's Peter Derouen. "As a major shareholder of this company, we are requesting that State Street contact Supervalu CEO Craig Herkert and actively encourage Supervalu management to restore the workers' health care benefits and return to the bargaining table."

"State Street handles pension and other funds for many unions," said the Bricklayers' Tom McIntyre. "As your clients, we don't want to see our money used against working families. You can make a difference!"

"As an investor and leader in the Greater Boston community, you should be concerned that Shaw's demands to take away hard earned benefits and job security is doing untold damage to the company's brand and reputation," said Jobs with Justice's Russ Davis. "A vigorous store boycott is underway and it's having a long term impact."

The workers plan to give State Street a few days to decide on a course of action, but hope to have the company's support in advance of the Supervalu annual shareholder meeting, which will take place June 24 in Minneapolis. Whatever happens, UFCW workers will attend the shareholder meeting and stand strong for good jobs in Methuen, and around the country.

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