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CLIFTON, N.J. -- Members of New Jersey's largest local labor union began voting yesterday evening on whether to authorize a strike if current contract negotiations with Foodtown, Pathmark, ShopRite, and Stop & Shop supermarkets fail. The contract expires at midnight April 16.
"We want to negotiate a contract -- not a strike," said Harvey Whille, president of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1262, which represents some 28,000 members in New Jersey and New York state, in a statement. "Our hope is that we will have a solid, fair contract before Saturday, but we have to be able to do whatever is necessary to protect our members' futures."
Whille said that the union had met with representatives from the supermarkets several times over the past few weeks, and felt that the employers have failed to fully address any of the union's major issues, particularly those involving health care and pension benefits.
A strike by UFCW Local 1262’s members would affect 250 ShopRite, Pathmark, Foodtown, and Stop & Shop locations in New Jersey, and more than 20 ShopRite and Pathmark supermarkets in the Western Hudson Valley.
Both sides are scheduled to meet again April 15, a day before the contract expires.