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QUINCY, Mass. - Unionized grocery store workers in Connecticut and western Massachusetts this week voted for union leaders to call a strike against Stop & Shop. At issue is whether workers will have to pay for their health insurance.
United Food & Commercial Workers Union locals in Westport, Conn.; Farmington, Conn.; and Springfield, Mass. all voted against the company's proposal to make health care deductions from paychecks, and authorized a strike. Affected employees include cashiers, and food and clerical workers. According to Brian Petronella, president of Local 371 of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, the Westport vote was unanimous.
Additionally, Stop & Shop union employees in Rhode Island could also go out on strike, a published report said.
Workers also unanimously voted union leaders the OK to call a strike as early as Feb. 19 if a contract slated to expire on the 18th isn't extended.
Stop & Shop spokeswoman Faith Weiner told a Connecticut newspaper, "Obviously, we're disappointed that Local 371 chose to take a strike vote at this time, before both parties have had an opportunity to negotiate." A call for further comment from Stop & Shop was not returned at presstime.
Stop & Shop has a total of 43,000 unionized employees in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
Negotiations between the parties resumed yesterday.