Food workers union, Hannaford owners will come to table
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A food workers union and the owner of a distributor in Maine say they will meet to try to avert a strike.
More than 200 members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445 who work at the Hannaford Distribution Center in South Portland say they authorized a strike. The distribution center is operated by Delhaize America Distribution, which said late Monday it will hold mediated talks with the union on Feb. 26.
“We have been advised there will not be a strike at this facility pending mediation,” said Christy Phillips-Brown, a spokeswoman for Delhaize.
Union spokesman Jim Carvalho said the union has made no agreements that there won’t be a job action between Tuesday and Feb. 26. The union wants concessions, such as more affordable health insurance and better starting pay for new members.
The union said Monday that members voted “overwhelmingly” to authorize a strike, and that there was “disappointing and unacceptable movement from Hannaford in key important economic areas.” The union’s three-year contract expired at midnight Saturday.
Carvalho said union members hope to avoid a strike, but it depends on how negotiations and mediation progress with Delhaize.
“We haven’t picked a date yet, but if the company doesn’t meet with us, we will plan on a job action from there,” he said.
Delhaize America Distribution is a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize, a Dutch supermarket giant that also owns Stop & Shop and Food Lion. Hannaford has more than 175 locations in New England and New York.
Hannaford spokesman Michael Norton deferred to Delhaize other than to say no strike is scheduled.
The union represents 15,000 workers in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
This story has been corrected to show Delhaize’s ownership is based in the Netherlands, not Belgium.