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    Union, N.Y.-area Chains Stave Off Strike

    QUEENS VILLAGE, N.Y. -- Unionized workers at New York metropolitan area Pathmark and Stop & Shop stores came to an agreement on Friday evening, apparently heading off a possible strike. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 here had already reached a settlement with King Kullen employees early Friday morning.

    QUEENS VILLAGE, N.Y. -- Unionized workers at New York metropolitan area Pathmark and Stop & Shop stores came to an agreement on Friday evening, apparently heading off a possible strike. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 here had already reached a settlement with King Kullen employees early Friday morning.

    The workers' four-year contract was scheduled to expire at 11:59 p.m., June 24. The primary point of contention during negotiations, Sunday premium pay for new hires, "will have a modest change with minimal impact on the employees," said the union in a statement, without giving any details about the change. The union also noted that the Pathmark and Stop & Shop employees wouldn't have health care costs deducted from their paychecks, and would receive salary increases enabling senior clerks to earn over $50,000 annually.

    The workers will vote on ratifying the agreements within the next 10 days, according to the statement.

    The strike would have affected approximately 16,000 workers at three supermarket chains.

    Earlier on Friday, the union local and Bethpage, N.Y.-based King Kullen Supermarkets reached an agreement for a new four-year collective bargaining agreement. According to the union, the agreement was reached without the mostly Long Island-based workers having to contribute toward their health care via paycheck deductions or give up Sunday premium pay for new hires.

    Both issues were still unresolved when King Kullen employees voted the week before to approve a strike.

    Noted Local 1500 president Bruce Both in a statement relating to the settlement with King Kullen, "These were the most challenging negotiations this union has faced in over 30 years. Both parties should be commended on the outcome."

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