The Patriot Ledger reports that a United Food and Commercial Workers union official said Stop & Shop employees who belong to five UFCW locals voted today to authorize a strike if contract negotiations with the Quincy-based supermarket company fall apart.

The workers’ contracts expired at the end of the day on Saturday, but the union leadership and the company agreed to a week’s extension, said Jim Riley, secretary-treasurer of UFCW Local 328. Riley said that previously scheduled meetings to hold strike authorization votes went forward as planned, and roughly 10,000 workers voted to authorize a strike today.  The contracts affect more than 40,000  Stop & Shop workers in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Riley said the negotiations with Stop & Shop will resume on Tuesday. He said the union and the company remain far apart on a number of standard issues, such as wages, pensions, work rules and health care.

Stop & Shop, a division of Dutch retailer Royal Ahold,  issued a statement this weekend confirming the contract extension. The company said it is committed to reaching a fair agreement that provides employees with access to quality, affordable healthcare as well as competitive wages and retirement benefits.

Patriot Ledger