NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A Stop and Shop employee is speaking out and threatening to sue the union representing employees while they're on strike.

This is now day nine of the strike, and one Stop and Shop employee says he has crossed the picket line, because of the way customers have been treated.

31,000 Stop and Shop employees continue to strike while the United Food and Commercial Workers Union negotiates with the company.

One of those employees, Matthew Coffey of Northampton, spoke with Western Mass News over the phone, since he did not want to go on camera.

He says that, on Sunday, he was off and needed to go into the Citizens Bank inside the store.

"As soon as I walked in," Coffey tells us. "I was already yelled at, called a scab, 'how could you?'."

He says it wasn't just the way he was spoken to, but he says he was also disappointed with the way employees were harassing customers.

"That was pushing me towards," continued Coffey. "This isn't the right way of treating our customers, because, at the end of the day, once all is said and done, whether Stop and Shop negotiates fairly for the union, or whether the union decides they'll cave in a bit, the customers are going to be there and we need to be there to support them."

Coffey is a part-time employee and, as a result, decided to go back to work, but not before, he say, he was given a hard time by the union.

"The union threatened that," stated Coffey. "As soon as the company came back, I was going to be fired immediately, because, in order to work in Stop and Shop, they claim that you have to be part of the union, which is a blatant lie."

He is now in contact with the National Right to Work Foundation.

A spokesperson for the foundation tells Western Mass News that they are now filing an unfair labor charge against the union after Coffey says he was misinformed and intimidated about going back to work.

"Every time I leave and come into the store now," added Coffey. "I have security with me, because it's not a safe environment for me or my fellow co-workers who have crossed to come into the store."

We did reach out to the local 1459 Union of the United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents Coffey's store.

They tell us that, since it's an ongoing legal matter, they are unable to comment.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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