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Sat Mar 30, 2013, 06:52 AM

Grocery Unions At Stop & Shop Take Obamacare’s Leap of Faith

Some 40,000 workers at more than 250 New England supermarkets approved new collective bargaining agreements this month in an uneasy embrace by their union of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, also known as Obamacare.

The contracts between the regional Stop & Shop grocery chain and five separate locals of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union were ratified in rank-and-file votes held March 10—but only after tortured contract talks that centered on the impact of Obamacare on low-income shelf stockers, check-out clerks and other part-time workers, UFCW leaders say.

In the end, despite what the union sees as favorable provisions on wages and most other issues, the new contracts will eliminate existing health insurance coverage for thousands of Stop & Shop part-timers.

When the union enthusiastically backed President Barack Obama’s health insurance reform proposals back in 2009-2010, “this is not what we bargained for," says Don Clifford, president of UFCW Local 1459 in Springfield, Mass.


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