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Grocery industry.

Negotiators for Meijer, Inc. and Local 951 of the United Food and Commercial Workers signed a 4-year collective bargaining agreement, covering some 26,500 grocery and meat department and warehouse workers employed in 50 supermarkets and 3 distribution centers in Michigan. The major issues in dispute reportedly involved wages, pensions, and health insurance.

The agreement provides for wage increases of 1.35-$I.45 an hour over the term of the agreement. Wage rates for journeymen meat-cutters would increase from $13.45 to $14.90 an hour; for senior clerks hired before November 1987 and working in Meijer's eastern Michigan stores, from 11.45 to $12.80 an hour, and for those working in the western part of the State, from $10.45 to $11.80 an hour; and for less senior clerks, from $9.10 to $ 11.80 an hour.

Other terms include a health insurance plan option, effective in April 1992, that allows employees to pay lower weekly premiums ($3.25 for single coverage and $6.50 for family coverage versus $6.75 and $12 under the standard plan) in exchange for higher deductibles ($250 for single coverage and $750 for family coverage versus $100 and $300) for the same level of coverage; a $1-$3 increase in the monthly pension rate per year of credited service; and the establishment of a 401 (k) savings plan, with a maximum employee investment of 10 percent of the employee's gross annual earnings.

Elsewhere, a 40-month contract, covering about 4,000 meat, deli, and seafood department employees, was reached between five locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Food Employers Council, representing major grocery chains in northern California. The chains covered under the agreement are Albertson's, Cal Foods/QFI, Lucky Stores, P&W Markets, Raley's, Safeway, Save Mart, and small independent companies.

The settlement calls for wage increases of $1.75 an hour over the term of the contract for journeymen meatcutters, and 1.25 an hour for meat wrappers and fish cutters. (At the expiration of the prior contract, journeymen meatcutters earned $14.52 an hour and meat wrappers and fish cutters earned $10.69 an hour.) In addition, the contract provides that meat department heads who supervise five workers or more will receive $1.50 an hour over the journeymen rate, and those who do not will receive $1.25 an hour over the journeymen rate.

Other terms include a 10-cent-an-hour maximum per employee in the companies' contributions to the pension fund to meet the minimum contribution level required under the Internal Revenue Code; continuation of the employers' current contribution rate to the health and welfare fund until the last 3 months of the contract, at which time the rate would be set to the level that meets the costs of the plan; the substitution of Veterans Day and Presidents Day for the employee's birthday and a floating holiday; and contract language requiring employees to work their scheduled day before and after a holiday and at least one other day during the week to be eligible for holiday pay.
COPYRIGHT 1992 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Title Annotation:labor contracts
Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Feb 1, 1992
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