A&P CANADA, UNION REACH PACT

TORONTO -- Union workers last week ratified new contracts with A&P of Canada here, ending a 14-week strike at the company's 63 Miracle Food Mart and Ultra Food Mart stores.es to close.The agreement with about 6,500 striking workers, including full-time and part-time staff, was reached following the appointment of a special mediator early this month."The new agreement enables Miracle Food Mart and

TORONTO -- Union workers last week ratified new contracts with A&P of Canada here, ending a 14-week strike at the company's 63 Miracle Food Mart and Ultra Food Mart stores.

es to close.

The agreement with about 6,500 striking workers, including full-time and part-time staff, was reached following the appointment of a special mediator early this month.

"The new agreement enables Miracle Food Mart and Ultra Mart stores to compete more successfully with both union and nonunion grocery retailers in Ontario," Gerald Good, chairman and chief executive officer of A&P Canada, said in a statement. "This will secure a great future for both our employees and the company."

Terms of the new contract were not announced, but Vic Pathe, the special mediator, told local reporters both sides had compromised.

Last month, full-time employees had voted to accept an A&P proposal that reduced wages by Canadian $1.75 per hour (about $1.30 U.S. in the current exchange rate) and called for the closing of four stores with some layoffs. Part-time workers rejected the offer, which nullified the full-timers' acceptance.

The proposal both sides agreed to last week called for the same hourly wage reductions, but only one store closing, according to local observers. It could not be determined whether the new contract called for employee layoffs.

The Miracle Food Mart and Ultra Food Mart employees earn between $11.10 and $11.85 per hour (in U.S. currency), according to local reports. The contract for employees in Canadian stores carrying the A&P banner expires this summer.