Stop & Shop workers will be back on the job Monday morning after unions and management at the grocery chain announced Sunday evening that they had reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract. The announcement comes after a strike lasting 11 days, that affected 240 stores in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Neither side is giving details of the deal, which will cover 31,000 workers if it's ratified by all five New England locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
The biggest sticking point in the negotiations had been the company's plan to increase health care contributions for all workers. Stop & Shop's statement on the tentative deal says only that it includes increased pay, "continued excellent health coverage for eligible associates," and ongoing pension benefits.
For its part, the UFCW issued a statement calling the deal a "powerful victory."
"The agreement preserves health care and retirement benefits, provides wage increases, and maintains time-and-a-half pay on Sunday for current members," said the statement.
The two sides had been in negotiations since January, and those talks continued after the old contract expired in February. All five locals of the UFCW ratified a strike agreement, and workers walked off the job April 11.
The grocery chain now says its top priority will be restocking shelves so that it can resume service to customers.