Stop & Shop workers have reached a tentative agreement with the grocery store company, more than a month after the contract expired for 35,000 employees in New England and a group of Massachusetts workers voted to authorize a strike if an acceptable deal wasn’t reached.
The agreement must be approved by the members of five local United Food and Commercial Workers unions, which will hold votes in the coming weeks.
Stop & Shop, owned by the Dutch company Koninklijke Ahold N.V., and UFCW union leaders have met 57 times over three months to hammer out the deal, according to the union.
“Our goal was to work together, beat back the company’s concessionary demands, and negotiate a better life for our incredible Stop & Shop members,” the New England Council of the United Food and Commercial Workers said in a statement. “Working together, we have reached a tentative agreement that all sides can agree is fair and equitable.”
Stop & Shop spokesman Philip Tracey said, “We are very pleased that we have reached tentative agreements with each of the five UFCW local unions that represent our store associates in New England stores.”
Details of the agreement, reached Saturday, were not immediately released. According to the union, the grocer had previously proposed cutting pensions, increasing health care costs, and giving new employees fewer benefits. Stop & Shop said it had offered increased pay and would continue providing generous paid time off and affordable health care benefits. The company also said it was not seeking to cut contributions to the pension plan.