Stop & Shop, Workers 'Make Progress' in Talks

RANDOLPH, Mass. — United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1445, which had been threatening to call a strike against Stop & Shop [4], said Friday that it expects to be able to vote on a new offer from the chain on Sunday.

The union — one of five negotiating with the chain — had previously set a deadline of noon Friday to terminate the current contracts and potentially call a strike. The pacts cover 36,000 Stop & Shop employees in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

A Stop & Shop spokeswoman late Friday afternoon told SN negotiations were "ongoing" and that "progress continues to be made."

The two main issues that were still unresolved were higher employee contributions for health insurance and wage increases, said Richard Charette, president of the local, in a message on the union's website on Thursday. Other issues include pension disputes and a disagreement over the number of paid holidays for newly hired workers.

"I believe that our members do not really want to strike, but they will absolutely strike if the contract offer is not fair," he added.

In a conference call with analysts on Thursday, John Rishton [5], chief executive officer of Amsterdam-based Ahold [6], parent company of Stop & Shop, said the chain was "continuing to bargain in good faith" but declined further comment.

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