Concessions on Health Care Aided Grocery Worker Deal
The United Food and Commercial Workers union and three grocery chains in Southern California both made concessions over health care benefits and wages to reach a tentative agreement earlier this week on a new four-year contract for 65,000 employees, according to officials, the Los Angeles Daily News reports (Scott, Los Angeles Daily News, 7/19).
Union workers at Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons on Sunday will vote on whether to ratify the contract agreement (California Healthline, 7/18).
Greg Conger, president of UFCW Local 324, said the union agreed to contribute $250 million of a $500 million employee reserve fund to help pay for health care benefits.
Meanwhile, the grocery chains agreed to eliminate a two-tier system that led to higher turnover rates, reduced wages and longer waiting periods to become eligible for health care coverage, according to the Daily News (Los Angeles Daily News, 7/19).
Sources said the new contract would reduce the waiting period for health care benefits from:
- 18 months to six months for newer employees; and
- 30 months to six months for children of newer workers.
The union's previous contract expired March 5 and was extended twice during negotiations. The contract was the result of a 4.5-month strike and lockout in 2004 (California Healthline, 7/18). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.