Retired union member Ray Bourque says he's sorry he crossed a Stop & Shop picket line this morning

After Christine Fontánez's video of Roy Bourque coming out of the North Andover Stop & Shop this morning started spreading, the former Bruins player responded:


Free tagging: 



Lemme preface this by saying:

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Lemme preface this by saying: I fully support livable wages and fair work place practices.

After going to the stop and shop in Allston to try to talk to the protesters, I have a hard time supporting them in this particular issue.

Not because I disagree with what they are protesting, but because of how they are doing it.

Want to get my support as a customer? Don't accost, yell, badger, or otherwise insult me when I'm asking for information. Don't "boo" me as I try to enter the store. You're not going to win the support of the public if you're unleashing all your protester rage on them.

Let's not forget, the customers are the ones who are footing the bill for your current paychecks, and whatever future pay raises you're demanding to receive.

I hate to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but I fully intend to keep shopping at stop and shop. Why? The general unhelpful/rude/arrogant attitudes of workers at the stop and shop I go to (before the protests), coupled with the disrespectful attitudes of the protesters, doesn't win my consumer vote.

And, tbh, when I did go after the protests had started it was the cleanest, most well stocked, least infuriating experience I've had yet.

Ya'll want raises? Maybe try earning it, instead of unleashing your rage on the general public.


You're full of it.

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First of all, they're not striking for increased benefits. The company that owns Stop and Shop is trying to claw back benefits already agreed upon in a past contract. They're trying to cut vacation and pension.

Second of all, you cross a picket line, you get booed. Period.

So lemme end this statement by stating: No, you don't fully support livable wages and fair work place practices. If you did, you wouldn't have crossed that picket line. You want to feel good about your limousine liberal values without the inconvenience of shopping somewhere else or the awareness to recognize that not every single hourly worker who's not earning their paycheck because they're on strike and are tired from pacing the sidewalk is going to treat you with kid gloves.

Get over your big bad self and recognize that it's your selfishness that led to your behavior and your post.

[and no, I'm not in a union]


Here’s the thing

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When you cross a picket line, those who are staffing it will boo. So, let’s just drop the facade of you supporting the worker. If you really cared about their cause, you’d be supporting them instead of berating them.

But since you somehow missed the issue, management is insisting on the workers contributing more for health insurance, without raises to offset the increased contributions. The bottom line is that the workers will be taking home less at the end of the contract proposed by management than they take home now.

You want to support fair wages and fair workplace practices? Don’t cross picket lines.


"without raises to offset"

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Generally, the voters are the ones asking for the policies pushing up healthcare costs. It's one of the main reasons wages have been fairly flat in recent years -- the increase in compensation is increasingly being consumed by healthcare and other non-wage benefits. Unions in particular tend to get better deals than the rest of the public.

Either the workers contribute more, or grocery costs go up (or some combination). It doesn't follow that wages would implicitly go up at the same time -- that's the entire reason they're being asked to contribute more in the first place. Costs rising faster than the rest of the business can adjust.

In the end the battle will rage on, but we easily forget about the silent majority to whom a sudden rise in cost across all their groceries can have just as bad an impact on workers being asked to contribute more to the healthcare they consume, but don't have a picket group to raise awareness for their cause (and whose own HC costs at their jobs may be going up similarly).


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Either the workers contribute more, or grocery costs go up (or some combination). It doesn't follow that wages would implicitly go up at the same time -- that's the entire reason they're being asked to contribute more in the first place. Costs rising faster than the rest of the business can adjust.


The company got a huge tax cut

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Over $200 million. Shareholders just got a big dividend. There are alternatives to raising prices and cutting benefits.

Those of us who don't have the benefit of unions (me included) should support them when they take action. Stronger unions that cover more workers benefit all of us.



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The Dedham one had very little produce and the fruits that were there were past the point they should have been sold. It was eerie in there as very few customers or employees. I guess they can make you check yourself out using the machines but can't make robots unload trucks and stock shelves. I did not purchase anything, just used the bank. I had my kids with me so it was a good teaching moment. The employees weren't malicious just asking for support. When we came out without having purchased anything we got a good round of applause so the kids liked that.

I actually just left that one

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The protesters at the Watertown location (the location behind the complex) were extremely nice at explaining the protest to me. They also informed me that NO stop and shop location in this state has had any deliveries since nearly two weeks ago so if I did end up finding a location that would let me in that nothing is fresh. They also kindly directed me to the Star Market (ugh) up the street

IIRC the pharmacists aren't

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IIRC the pharmacists aren't part of the union, and I'd think that most of the picketers are going to be understanding if you're going solely to pickup up your prescription.

He did leave the store with several bags of groceries, though.



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Not unless the pharmacy started selling Easter products!

Judging by the video and

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Judging by the video and responses on the Twitter, the union does not understand.

Part of this is a problem of the picket line. The people in the picket don't know why someone is headed into the S&S before they start to berate them. I saw one instance on the news of someone who's bank is in the store or something. Who knew that was a thing?


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The Country of apologies

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BAA lady throws the flag on the ground. We get an apology. NHLPA member crosses picket line. We get an apology. Waiting for the MBTA Carmen’s member for an apology.
What about people start thinking about things before they do them?

Harassment by union is counterproductive

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I support the Stop and Shop workers but shaming public figures is counterproductive and fuels the stigma of unions as thuggish. A better approach would have been to call Bourque aside and ask him to honor the picket line in the future or perhaps even walk the line with the workers.

This doesn't rise to the level of Walsh's two Boston City Hall buffoons pressuring Boston Calling into using union labor or the local Teamsters placing a woman of color and popular TV Chef in fear but it's still a form of bullying that doesn't help the cause.



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...if I do a lot of charitable work, I should be able to...oh let's just say...take a dump on your front lawn and not be shamed for it? How does that work?


Great for him

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He also made way more money than any of the picketers will ever have in their lifetimes, and got to retire at age 40. It's great that he's given so much back, but excuse me if I think the charitable work comparison isn't quite fair here.

Had this happened

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when avocados were still on sale for 77 cents each I’d be right there with ya Ray!



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How dare they shame a legend for just grocery shopping. Union people are bums!

Union people are bums? Thank

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Union people are bums? Thank the unions for what rights and benefits you have enjoyed in your working life. Because corporations won't do it willingly. People forget that a strong middle class came from unions and once union busting started (thanks Reagan!) the middle class started to shrink and suffer.


What I can't figure out

Why would anyone go to Stop and Shop in North Andover?

They have Market Basket and Hannaford - Stop and Shop is Supermarket of Last Resort strike or no strike!



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Stil not shopping there until the strike is over..

I support unions

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But I have to pick up my wifes diabetes medicine. Are the union workers blocking entrances to the pharmacies?


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They are not, as you'd know if you'd read upthread or read any of the many other places where this is made clear. Explain to the picket line that you're there to visit the pharmacy and that you support them.

pharmacy and Citizens bank branches

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I ended up at the McGrath Hwy store 10 minutes after the workers went out on strike. I was heading to the pharmacy for meds I could not delay in taking (new scripts, lung disease, so no home supply). I asked the picketers if they felt OK with me going in to use pharmacy, and they said yes. Even directed me to the entrance w/ manager.

The pharmacist there said that all pharmacy workers are non-union. However, the pharmacy and the Citizens bank branches inside the stores do not have separate entrances. She and the pharmacy tech felt badly and uneasy about the situation they found themselves in, but they were also concerned about how patients needing those services would access needed prescriptions and services.


How do strikers feel about this?

How safe is it for patients to use pharmacies inside big box stores?

What about people using bank branches inside a store on strike?

I have more scripts filled, but I'm trying to wait to get them until the strike is resolved.

As for S&S trying to claw back benefits - I'm fully with the strikers on this. The wage scale has eroded over the years, and there is no worker in that union making enough to be able to give back anything without incurring suffering and loss. Companies that try to do this are companies that need to be brought to heel.

How SAFE is it?

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The strikers have a facebook page that's full of information - you can follow it at They have said there repeatedly that they have no problem with people using the pharmacy and bank. As for questions about safety, that seems a bit overblown, but maybe you could reach out on that page and possibly talk directly to people who are picketing the location you visit.

I have been told that strikers appreciate people coming to stand with them, spend time to them, talk with them, bring them snacks, express support, etc. They're quite open to talking with people, so I'd suggest just asking how they feel about it. They're not into denying people access to their prescription meds, for sure.

My gut (from what I read)

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If you tell them you wouldn't go in, except to pick up your meds or do banking, they are instructed to be nice. Come out with a shopping cart full of groceries, they might not be so nice.

Stop n Shop

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I'm bummed out about this. I really am. I live in Cambridge right next door to a Whole Foods and a block away from a Trader Joes. But I love Stop n Shop and Shaws, both of which I frequent on a regular basis. But being a union employee myself, I won't cross a picket line. Its lose lose for all concerned and I really hope they settle it soon.