MALDEN (CBS) – One day after former Vice President Joe Biden rallied striking Stop & Shop workers in Dorchester, another politician in the campaign 2020 conversation visited a Massachusetts picket line. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who officially entered the race for the Democratic nomination last week, met with employees at the Stop & Shop on Charles Street in Malden Friday.
Thirty-one thousand union workers at 240 stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut went on strike on April 11 after the company proposed raising weekly health care costs from employees from $2 to $4.
“This largest private sector labor action strike in three years is sending a message that’s going to ripple out far beyond New England,” Buttigieg said. “And the message is that companies have to do right by their workers.”
Buttigieg, 37, is an openly gay Afghanistan war veteran and a rising star in the Democratic Party. A recent Saint Anselm College poll has him surging into third in the New Hampshire primary behind Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“I’m running for president largely because I believe that our freedom depends on understanding how to make sure the changes in our society work for working people,” Buttigieg said. “What’s happening at Stop & Shop is an example of the exact opposite.”
Related: Buttigieg Speaks At Northeastern
Another presidential candidate, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, joined the picket line last week.
The Quincy-based company says it is offering wage increases and larger pension contributions for current workers.
If the strike lasts through the week, retail experts say the impact could be devastating to Stop & Shop’s sales with Passover and Easter coming up this weekend.