Union Touts Health Benefits in Grocery Store Workers Contract
Union officials are commending last week's agreement between Northern California grocery workers and a major grocery chain as a model contract for improving workers' health care benefits, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The United Food and Commercial Workers union and Safeway reached agreement on a four-year contract covering 25,000 workers in 300 stores.
Ron Lind, president of a UFCW local in San Jose, said, "I would say it's the best grocery contract in the country," adding that it "bucks the national trend in which employers are cutting benefits and shifting the costs of health care to employees."
The new contract made several changes to workers' health benefits, including:
- Eliminating deductibles from prescription drugs and dental care;
- Reducing the waiting period to receive entry-level benefits from 40 months to 24 months; and
- Shortened the waiting period for dependents to become eligible from 19 months to six months.
As in previous contracts, union members will not be required to pay insurance premiums.
In the last week, Mollie Stone's, Lunardi's and Andronico's in Northern California have agreed to similar contracts, according to Lind (Raine, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/2). 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.