After an 11-day strike, Stop & Shop and the United Food And Commercial Workers Union reached a Tentative Agreement shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday.
The company said the agreement ends employee strikes that started April 11 at 240 Stop & Shop stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Stop & Shop stores in New Britain and Bristol were closed at the time and visibly void of any employees and patrons. UFCW posted a brief statement to its Facebook page at 8:09 p.m. This “negotiation update” said that contract meetings had yet to be scheduled. If an affirmative vote is made to accept the agreement during these meetings, the protest will officially end.
“In the meantime,” it continues, “while we wait on these meetings to be scheduled, our members WILL return to work tomorrow. This is a very positive development that we could not have achieved without your unyielding support.”
All stores are scheduled to open at 8 a.m. Monday, according to the Stop & Shop website.
The tentative three-year agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers union is subject to ratification votes by members of each of the union locals, the company said.
“Our associates’ top priority will be restocking our stores so we can return to taking care of our customers and communities and providing them with the service they deserve,” the company said. “We deeply appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers during this time, and we look forward to welcoming them back to Stop & Shop.”
The union said “today is a powerful victory for the 31,000 hardworking men and women of Stop & Shop who courageously stood up to fight for what all New Englanders want.” It said workers were on strike to protest the company’s proposed cuts to health care, take-home pay and other benefits.
The tentative agreement includes “increased pay for all associates, continued excellent health coverage for eligible associates, and ongoing defined benefit pension benefits for all eligible associates,” the company said.
“Under this proposed contract, our members will be able to focus on continuing to help customers in our communities enjoy the best shopping experience possible and to keep Stop & Shop the number one grocery store in New England,” the union said. “The agreement preserves health care and retirement benefits, provides wage increases, and maintains time-and-a-half pay on Sunday for current members.”
Information from The Associated Press has been included.