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    Connecticut A&P Workers Threaten to Strike

    With salary, health insurance and pension issues still unresolved after several rounds of negotiations, Local 371 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union says that its 1,500 members who work full- and part-time in Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. stores in Connecticut may strike as soon as April 10, according to published reports. The most recent contract expired Feb. 28.

    With salary, health insurance and pension issues still unresolved after several rounds of negotiations, Local 371 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union says that its 1,500 members who work full- and part-time in Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. stores in Connecticut may strike as soon as April 10, according to published reports. The most recent contract expired Feb. 28.

    Earlier this week, union members voted 102-4 to give their negotiating committee the right to strike at 15 stores across the state.

    "We're trying to get contracts similar to the Stop & Shop agreement negotiated in 2007 and the Shaw's agreement we negotiated in 2008," union president Brian Petronella told the Norwalk, Conn., Advocate. Under that contract, workers get a $65 weekly full-time pay increase over three years with Stop & Shop and a $70 weekly pay raise over four years with Shaw's, he noted.

    Employees now make no contributions for health coverage, with A&P picking up the tab. Local 371 supports a $5 weekly contribution for single employees, $10 for an employee and one dependent, and $15 for a family, said Petronella, who added that the company wants workers to pay more.

    The union is also against an A&P proposal that part-time workers' pensions be moved from a jointly administered program to company control, according to Petronella.

    The Montvale, N.J.-based grocer has declined to discuss the matter. "In respect of the diligence and efforts of the respective parties, it is A&P's position not to comment on details of negotiations," A&P spokeswoman Lauren La Bruno told the paper.

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