MINNEOLA, N.Y. -- United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 342-50 here avoided a strike by reaching a tentative labor agreement last week with five New York area supermarket chains.
The union's negotiating committee and 200 union stewards from the affected stores agreed to unanimously endorse the proposed contract, according to the union.
The new four-year pact would cover about 2,500 meat, deli and seafood employees at 114 stores in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx and Nassau and Suffolk counties.
The chains involved in the negotiations are Pathmark Stores, Woodbridge, N.J.; Grand Union Co., Wayne, N.J.; King Kullen Grocery Co., Westbury, N.Y.; and Edwards Super Food Stores, Windsor Locks, Conn.
Wakefern Food Corp., Elizabeth, N.J., is also part of the negotiations, but it could not be learned how many of the cooperative's members are involved. Chain executives declined to comment about the agreement.
The contract expired at midnight Oct. 21, but negotiations have been ongoing for about eight weeks. The issues that had been holding up the negotiations concerned pension plan improvements, wages and health benefits, the union said.
The talks had stalled to the point where Jack Sweeney, commissioner of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, Washington, was called in to facilitate communication between the union and the stores.