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Supermarket union approves contract, averts walkout

King Kullen in Riverhead. (May 23, 2013)

King Kullen in Riverhead. (May 23, 2013) Credit: Ian J. Stark

Unionized supermarket workers on Long Island and in the metropolitan area have approved a 14-month contract with the King Kullen and Stop & Shop supermarket chains, averting a potential holiday walkout.

On Monday, more than 8,000 workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500, based in Westbury, "overwhelmingly" ratified the contract that was negotiated over three months, the union said in a statement.

The contract provides "affordable" health care coverage for both full-timers and part-timers, UFCW Local 1500 president Bruce Both said in a statement. Mandates of the Affordable Care Act had been a major sticking point in negotiations that were overseen by a federal mediator.

The agreement also maintains pension plans and provides two wage increases over the contract period to all employees, the union said.

Brian Kullen, co-president of King Kullen Grocery Co., said in a statement the company is "very pleased" with the ratification.

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