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2020 Democratic hopefuls back striking Stop & Shop workers

Sen. Elizabeth Warren visited picketing workers outside a Massachusetts store on Friday

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) arrives to join the picket line with striking Stop & Shop workers on April 12, 2019 in Somerville, Massachusetts. On Thursday, 31,000 unionized Stop & Shop workers across New England walked off the job in an ongoing strike in response to a proposed contract which the United Food & Commercial Workers union says would cut health care benefits and pensions for employees. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

A New England grocery store strike is giving Democratic presidential hopefuls a chance to demonstrate their support for organized labor.

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren greeted striking workers on a picket line in Somerville, Mass., on Friday — and of course, she brought Dunkin’ donuts and coffee.

“Unions built America’s middle class — unions will be rebuilding American’s middle class,” Warren told the crowd, according to the Boston Globe.

And according to WBZ radio, Warren was talking about the tax benefits that the grocery store chain received from the 2017 tax code overhaul. She is not the only 2020 White House contender to have weighed in.

“I stand with the thousands of Stop & Shop workers across New England who deserve a raise, a secure retirement and access to affordable health care. I urge Stop & Shop management to immediately work with labor and come to terms on a fair contract,” New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker said in a statement. “As President, I will put working families first and expand workers’ rights across this country so that everyone has a livable wage, a secure retirement and access to health care as a fundamental right.”

Others on the campaign trail, including Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Kamala Harris of California, offered statements of support on Twitter. 

Roughly 31,000, United Food and Commercial Workers-affiliated employees of Stop & Shop stores throughout New England went on strike Thursday. They argued that a final contract offer from the grocery store chain, which is a division of Netherlands-based food retailer Ahold Delhaize, was not sufficient.

The Stop & Shop brand exited New Hampshire in 2013, though the same corporate parent now owns the Hannaford chain that operates throughout New England.

Southern New Hampshire is also in the Boston media market, where the Stop & Shop contract negotiations have been leading the news along with the weather forecast for the Boston Marathon on Monday.

The images of picketing workers outside grocery stores are nothing new to the voters of the Granite State. Protests outside Market Basket stores were a common site in the summer of 2014, in response to a leadership battle over control of that supermarket chain.

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