After several months of challenging bargaining, members of UFCW Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445 and 1459 at Stop & Shop, voted on Sunday to ratify new three-year contracts. The local unions were facing a tremendous amount of financial pressure to bring the five health care plans up to compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under that pressure, the local unions worked in total unison and solidarity to craft creative solutions that invest resources back into workers’ paychecks and provide stability for our existing Taft-Hartley benefit plans.
The new contracts include:
• Wage increases per hour for full and part-time workers ranging from 95 cents to $1.62 over three years.
• Scheduling language that protects current part-timers working over 30 hours per week from any ACA-related pressure to cut hours.
• Mechanisms that keep part-time workers in the existing Taft-Hartley benefit plans for ancillary benefits while investing in health savings accounts for part-timers to use in conjunction with a plan on the state exchange.
• A number of new structures, depending on the collective bargaining agreement or state, for part-time, new hires to connect with their union for health coverage.
Ratification meetings were held in all five local unions this past weekend and the contract was overwhelmingly accepted by members across New England.
The five locals are a perfect example of what we can all achieve when we stick together in solidarity.