As the young union strike between Stop & Shop labor and the corporation has begun, the behavior of those picketing has turned many in the public against them. Literally, hundreds of anecdotals and videos on social media have shown a poor strategy by the union to lash out at those entering the store.

While I do shop at Stop & Shop, I can see many items that cost about a dollar more than they do at competing supermarkets who do not have union labor. I do shop there despite knowing that. Know why? I hate the idea of the store closing and thinking of all the unemployed who will have to figure out how to keep the lights on and the food on their own tables.

Based on the shocking treatment I am seeing, I'm far less sympathetic and actually angry that the harassment is so nasty.

When I do shop there, I don't use the self-checkout because I know that will slowly cut jobs. I'm conscious of the employee at that point.

But will I still be shopping there after this display? Throwing things at a single mom who has a toddler in tow, yelling lousy things at people using the pharmacy or the bank or for whatever they hell they want to go in the store for, is beyond acceptable.

The quarrel you have is with the corporation; you can make your demands with them all you want. However, you cannot make demands on the public. The strategy to harass is stupid and shameful.

You are going to need those very same customers that you are berating, so even if you win your demands in negotiations, how long will those jobs be there if you've got no customers coming in?

I do what I can for you guys within reason. In fact, I haven't shopped there since the strike began. I will remind myself that none of you on that picket line have ever lifted a finger for me to get a raise or improved benefits for my family. I would be crazy to expect you to have. Yet you are feeling entitled to my unwavering support, which means to not go into the supermarket because you personally aren't benefiting from me stopping by?

Whoever is directing you to do these things should be silenced from your discussions. It looks like far left thug tactics, but ones that have caught the public's attention.

So for God's sake, don't pretend what you are doing to your customers is acceptable and reasonable behavior because you are doing it in large numbers. It is bullying, and you will regret it.

You'll be unemployed if this keeps up. I and most of the public wish you well in negotiations—but you are targeting the wrong people. Much more of this, and you will have advertised for Market Basket, Shaw's, Trucchi's and others.

Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @RadioKenPittman. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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