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Proposal Would Shift Workers to Exchanges: Union

QUINCY, Mass. — Stop & Shop has proposed moving some part-time workers at its stores from company-sponsored insurance and prescription drug plans to federal exchanges when they become active in 2014, five local unions negotiating a new contract with the retailer here said Thursday.

The unions — United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445 and 1459 — in a written update termed the company’s proposal an “emotional” issue amid otherwise productive negotiations toward a new contract to replace a deal expiring Feb. 23.

According to the union, Stop & Shop has proposed to fund insurance and prescriptions for part-time workers only through Jan. 14, 2014. That is the date when all individuals will be able to purchase health insurance in accordance with the federal Affordable Care Act.

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The unions termed negotiations held this week as “the most productive days so far,” but added “with additions of pensions and health care to the forefront, emotions are going to get intense, especially surrounding part-time health care.”

The local unions represent about 40,000 Stop & Shop workers throughout New England. The retailer has been preparing for a potential work stoppage by seeking replacement workers. A Stop & Shop spokeswoman told SN the company would not comment on ongoing contract negotiations as a matter of policy.

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