On Wednesday, April 20, the membership of the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Local 328 joined four other New England locals in overwhelmingly ratifying a new contract with Stop & Shop and the grocer's Dutch parent company, Ahold.
The contract includes pay raises over three years amounting to an additional $65 per week for full-time employees and between $.75 and $1.35 an hour for part-time employees, depending on years of service.
Beyond salary, the contract includes a number of important improvements directly affecting the quality of life for Stop & Shop workers, including:
- a two-week advanced scheduling program to make it easier for workers to plan their lives and budgets;
- a minimum of 20 hours per week offered to part time employees hired before April 1, 2006;
- a commitment to create on average two new full-time positions at each store, amounting to 147 positions in Local 328 stores and 480 across all five locals.
According to Local 328 President Tim Melia, this is the first time they have negotiated a firm number of new full time positions into a contract at Stop & Shop.
The agreement also maintains improved insurance, vacation time and other benefits.
One concession made by the union was to increase the number of years required for new hires to achieve the full quota of holiday and sick days, from three years to four.
Melia cited good strategy, preparation, and familiarity between the five locals as crucial to the success of the negotiation with Ahold. The locals started planning a year ahead, working hard to reach and maintain consensus on key issues. Melia told Common Ground, "The company realized they couldn't pick us off one at a time." With five locals, rank and file and leadership standing together, UFCW members at Stop & Shop won a strong contract for the next three years.