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Although unionized Stop & Shop employees in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island voted on Sunday to authorize a strike at the Ahold USA banner, the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union said that there would be no walkout for at least a week. They couldn’t come to a consensus on a new contract, but both sides agreed to extend the contract that expired on Saturday through next weekend, and will resume talks today.
At issue are wages, pensions and medical insurance costs, including a new law in Massachusetts that requires a higher quality of health care coverage than part-time employees now get, according to a report in the Hartford, Conn., Courant. The UFCW represents 36,000 workers at 240 Stop & Shop locations. Five union locals are involved in the negotiations.
“Our goal throughout these negotiations continues to be to provide good jobs to our associates, while serving our loyal customers,” Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop said. “We are committed to continuing negotiations and working hard at the bargaining table to reach a fair agreement that provides our associates with access to quality, affordable healthcare and competitive wages and retirement benefits.”
Under the stopgap agreement reached on Sunday, workers will remain employed under the current contract terms through at least midnight Saturday. After that deadline, the company and union can agree to renew the contract on a day-to-day basis, or either side can end the deal after providing 24 hours’ notice.
Stop & Shop has been advertising for replacement workers since early this month.