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    Shaw's Workers Ratify Contract

    The new contract raises wages, higher company contributions to health care, and continuing pension benefits.

    Unionized Shaw's Supermarkets workers at 38 southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island stores and two distribution centers voted unanimously to ratify a new five-year contract Sunday, thereby averting a strike, according to published accounts.

    Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 791 said they threatened to strike because Shaw's wanted to get rid of a pension plan and transfer most health care costs to employees. Union leaders and company officials negotiated for hours on Sunday before the vote.

    Under the new contract, over 5,000 employees will receive wage raises, overall increases in company contributions to health care, and continuing pension benefits.

    "This contract provides great benefits for our associates, while allowing Shaw's to be competitive and flexible to serve our customers better than anyone else in the marketplace," noted Larry Wahlstrom, president of West Bridgewater, Mass.-based Shaw's.

    The old contract expired Saturday.

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