The Berkshire Eagle  reports unionized workers at Stop & Shop supermarkets in Western Massachusetts have ratified a new three-year contract that includes higher wages and continued access to affordable health benefits, according to union and company officials.

United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1459 representing 1,300 employees, including 300 to 400 in Berkshire County, approved the collective bargaining agreement on Wednesday night. Local 1459 was the last of the five UFCW locals to approve the tentative contract reached, through federal mediation, on April 21. In all, 31,000 UFCW workers at Stop & Stop stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island went on strike April 11 for 11 days, demanding a better offer from management.

Union leaders and Stop & Shop have highlighted several key items in the new contract:

- Higher wages for full- and part-time associates, including continued Sunday premiums.

- New hires guaranteed a pathway to earn above the state's minimum wage.

- Excellent, affordable health care coverage for all eligible associates.

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