Gi­ant and Safe­way union work­ers rat­ify con­tracts

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - By Lor­raine Mirabella lor­raine.mirabella@balt­sun.com

Union­ized work­ers for Gi­ant Food and Safe­way in the Bal­ti­more-Wash­ing­ton re­gion rat­i­fied new la­bor con­tracts Wed­nes­day.

The three-year con­tract reached by Gi­ant and the United Food and Com­mer­cial Work­ers cov­ers nearly 17,000 em­ploy­ees, Gi­ant Food said in a state­ment. About 5,200 of them be­long to UFCW Lo­cal 27, which cov­ers the Bal­ti­more area. UFCW’s Lo­cal 400 cov­ers work­ers else­where in Mary­land and in North­ern Vir­ginia and Wash­ing­ton.

“Through­out ne­go­ti­a­tions, our goal was to reach an agree­ment that en­sures our as­so­ciates con­tinue to be among the high­est com­pen­sated gro­cery work­ers in the Bal­ti­more-Wash­ing­ton area, while also po­si­tion­ing Gi­ant Food to re­main com­pet­i­tive in a chal­leng­ing mar­ket­place,” Gi­ant Food Pres­i­dent Gor­don Reid said in an an­nounce­ment Wed­nes­day.

Safe­way work­ers, rep­re­sented by the same two UFCW lo­cals, also agreed to a three-year con­tract, said Stacey Brown, vice pres­i­dent of hu­man resources and la­bor re­la­tions for Safe­way’s Eastern Divi­sion. Safe­way has11,000 union­ized work­ers in Mary­land, Delaware, Vir­ginia and Wash­ing­ton. The con­tract takes ef­fect im­me­di­ately, she said.

“We ad­dressed a lot of things like wages and health care and re­tire­ment pen­sions, and one of the things we took a good look at dur­ing these ne­go­ti­a­tions was how to come up with wages that ac­cu­rately and fairly rep­re­sent the hard work our em­ploy­ees do,” Brown said.

She said Safe­way in­creased its min­i­mum wages across all its con­tracts, with wages now start­ing at over $9 an hour. The com­pany also agreed to main­tain the cur­rent health care plans through the du­ra­tion of the con­tract.

“In the end, we were able to set­tle on what we be­lieve is a fair agree­ment,” the Lo­cal 27 web­site said about an agree­ment reached with Gi­ant. “We suc­cess­fully pre­vented take­backs.”

Union lead­ers could not be reached for com­ment Wed­nes­day.

The cur­rent con­tract ex­ten­sion ex­pires Fri­day. Be­fore the meet­ings, Lo­cal 27 said on its web­site that it had reached a ten­ta­tive agree­ment with Gi­ant af­ter ne­go­ti­a­tions it de­scribed as marathon. It had reached a sim­i­lar ten­ta­tive agree­ment with Safe­way last week.

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