King Kullen, Stop & Shop workers on LI to vote on contracts Monday
About 8,000 unionized King Kullen and Stop & Shop supermarket workers on Long Island and around the metropolitan area are scheduled to vote Monday on tentative contracts hammered out after three months of sometimes contentious negotiations.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500, based in Westbury, announced the tentative deals Wednesday night after bottlenecks over pensions and health care were resolved in marathon talks over the weekend.
"Our team has fought every second of the day to try and secure not just 'any contract,' but the best contract we can," Local 1500 president Bruce W. Both said in a statement.
Officials of Bethpage-based King Kullen, through a spokesman, declined to comment pending results of the ratification vote by about 2,000 workers. A spokeswoman for Stop & Shop, a unit of Netherlands-based Royal Ahold, characterized the tentative deal as "a nice holiday present for 6,000 of our associates."
In a statement, union officials said the agreement came as they were in the "final stages of planning for a work stoppage."
The previous contracts for King Kullen and Stop & Shop workers expired in September. King Kullen executives agreed to four extensions, including the latest that was due to expire Saturday, according to union spokesman Joseph Fedele.
UFCW Local 1500 workers at Stop & Shop have been working without a contract since Nov. 2, when the second of two contract extensions ran out. The local represents Stop & Shop workers in 54 stores on Long Island, in New York City and the northern suburbs.
King Kullen has 41 supermarkets and four Wild By Nature natural-food stores, all on Long Island, according to the company website. Wild By Nature workers are covered by a separate contract that expires in May, union officials said.
Stop & Shop officials cited health care costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, called Obamacare by its critics, as a sticking point in negotiations. Details of the proposed contracts were unavailable.
In November, Local 1500 officials agreed to a cooling-off period requested by a federal mediator who sought to avert a work stoppage two days before Thanksgiving.
King Kullen and Stop & Shop workers on Long Island will vote on the contracts at the Ramada Plaza Long Island MacArthur Airport hotel in Holtsville and the UFCW Local 1500 office in Westbury.