Stop & Shop, Labor Unions Head off Strike; Shaw’s DC Workers Walk

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Stop & Shop, Labor Unions Head off Strike; Shaw’s DC Workers Walk

Unionized workers have approved new contracts with Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. after months of negotiations, averting a threatened strike, according to published reports. The day after coming to a tentative agreement with the Quincy, Mass.-based supermarket chain, five unions representing workers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island ratified three-year pacts that will raise wages and retain benefits.

“Our goal during the negotiations was to reach fair agreements that will allow us to continue to provide good jobs to our associates and serve our customers for many years to come,” Stop & Shop said in a statement posted on its Web site. “We are pleased to have met this goal with agreements that provide our associates very competitive wage packages and retirement benefits as well as access to quality, affordable health care.”

The Ahold USA division described the weekend talks that led to the new contract as “focused, candid and substantive.”

Meanwhile, over 300 employees at the Shaw’s Supermarkets distribution facility in Methuen, Mass., have walked off the job after turning down the company’s contract offer over the weekend. Workers say the contract would have hiked up health care contributions and included “substandard” pay increases.

Although it told local media that it was “disappointed” by the outcome and has a contingency plan in place to get meats, dairy items, produce and other perishables handled by the DC to its stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, West Bridgewater, Mass.-based Shaw’s said yesterday that it would present an alternative offer to United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 791.