ShopRite, Union Members Ratify New Contract
Union workers at 15 ShopRite-owned stores in southern New Jersey this week voted by an overwhelming margin to ratify a new contract with their employer.
Approval of the 16-month contract, which covers 2,500 members of Mays Landing, N.J.-based United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 152, brought to an end three months of negotiations between the union and ShopRite. The agreement calls for a wage increase, higher pension contributions by the employer, and continued health benefits that don’t require cost-sharing by union members.
“The feedback from the members at our three voting locations was entirely positive,” said UFCW Local 152 president Brian String. “These were painstakingly difficult negotiations because of the uncertainties surrounding the Affordable Care Act. Fortunately, both the union and the company were willing to roll up their sleeves and work on a solution.”
String added that preserving the workers’ health benefits was the main goal of the union’s lead negotiating team, and that it had been accomplished, although he noted that the absence of cost-sharing made the contact one of the last of its kind in the industry.
ShopRite agreed to boost its health and welfare contributions by 19 percent over the duration of the contract. The grocer also will raise its contributions to the workers’ pension fund by 10 percent during the next 16 months as part of an ongoing effort to return the fund to “safe” status.