New England grocer selling Passover foods reaches contract agreement with workers


(JTA) — Workers at the Massachusetts-based Stop & Shop grocery chain have reached a tentative contract agreement days after rabbis in three New England states told their followers to shop elsewhere for their Passover foods, if possible.

The agreement reached between workers and company officials on Sunday includes wage increases and maintains health coverage, The Associated Press reported, citing statements from both sides.

More than 30,000 Stop & Shop workers had walked off the job on April 11 to protest for a new contract.

The three-year agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers union must be ratified by members of each of the locals, according to the report.

The grocery chain, owned by a Dutch conglomerate but founded in the 1900s by a Boston Jewish family, has the highest sales of kosher products among New England grocery stores. Rabbis from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island had made the Passover plea about shopping elsewhere.

“The food that you’re buying is the product of oppressed labor and that’s not kosher,” Rabbi Barbara Penzner of the Reconstuctionist Temple Hillel B’nai Torah in Boston told AP last week. “Especially during Passover, when we’re celebrating freedom from slavery, that’s particularly egregious.”

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