June 25, 2006

Union reaches agreement with N.Y.-area grocery stores

NEW YORK (Reuters) - About 16,000 workers at three New
York-area grocery store chains avoided a strike after the
stores reached labor agreements with the union representing
them, the union said.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500
reached an agreement with Pathmark Stores Inc. and Ahold NV's
Stop & Shop on Friday evening, the union said in a statement.

A four-year contract was set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on
Saturday. It affects more than 7,000 workers at Pathmark stores
and about 5,000 workers at Stop & Shop in New York City and on
Long Island, as well as Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester

The agreement follows another one made earlier on Friday
with King Kullen Grocery Co. Inc.

Sunday premium pay for new hires, the main issue that could
have triggered a strike, "will have a modest change with
minimal impact on the employees," the statement said. It did
not provide details on the change.

Representatives for the union and the supermarket chains
were not immediately available for comment.

Pathmark and Stop & Shop workers will not have paycheck
deductions to cover their health-care costs, and would receive
wage increases that would put top-rated clerks at more than
$50,000 a year, the statement said.

The workers plan to vote on ratifying the agreements within
10 days, the statement also said.