After the rally and press conference, at which local state representatives, former A and P workers, community members, shoppers, and United Health Care Workers Local 1199 leaders and members, and UFCW Local 371 leaders and staff spoke or attended, Senator-elect Blumenthal arrived and gave the workers some very encouraging words as they leafletted customers.
Many customers were outraged at Big Y's treatment of the former A and P workers, and some even told Big Y staff at the event how they felt.
Most A and P employees were not hired back after their stores were bought by the Big Y chain and re-opened as Big Y stores—despite workers’ many years of experience, skill, and dedication to their jobs. Entire families who had worked at A and P for generations were not re-hired at Big Y, and now find themselves out of work at the worst time—during an economic downturn and over the holidays. Workers are wondering, Why, Big Y?
As Big Y opens six stores in Connecticut, these A and P workers, their customers and their supporters are asking Big Y to make a real commitment to our communities this holiday season. During tough economic times, the single most important thing that will help our communities prosper is jobs. Those at the rally asked Big Y to rehire the A&P workers that are now out of work, and to commit to providing good jobs in our communities—jobs with full-time hours if workers want them—jobs that pay a living wage and come with good benefits.
“Big Y should hire us back,” said former A and P worker Rich Johnson, who worked at A and P for 31 years. “A lot of our customers came in because of us. They’re friends, they’re family, and they come here for us. Why not keep us? It just makes good sense, for us, for our customers, and it seems like good business, too.”