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Grocery industry.


Negotiators for Local 791 of the United Food and Commercial Workers and Shaw's Supermarkets, Inc. signed a 3year collective bargaining agreement, covering some 5,265 workers at 21 grocery stores in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island and a warehouse in East Bridgewater, MA. Health care coverage was a major issue during negotiations. (The predecessor union, the Independent Food Handlers and Warehouse Employees Union, which had represented the bargaining unit for 44 years, affiliated with United Food and Commercial Workers during this round of negotiations because of concern over the company's proposals on health care and other contract changes, which it regarded as "takeaways".)

The contract calls for the implementation of a managed health care system, effective July 1, 1992, which will require employees to contribute 10 percent of the cost of health care services, up to an annual maximum of $250 for individual coverage and $500 for family coverage. Employees can opt to go outside of the managed care network for health care, but, by the end of the third year of the contract, will have a copayment of up to 30 percent, with maximum contributions of $1,500 for individual coverage and $3,000 for family coverage. The contract also establishes a joint labor-management committee to implement the new network and review any future proposals to modify the delivery of services or payment of costs.

The agreement also provides for wage increases of $30 a week in the first and third years and $25 a week in the second year for full-time grocery employees, and 75 cents an hour in the first and third years and 60 cents an hour in the second year for general warehouse workers. (At the expiration of the prior contact, wages reportedly were $565 a week for general duty clerks at the 3-year level, $649 a week for journeymen meatcutters, and $16.30 an hour for warehouse workers.)

Other contract terms include a $3 increase over the term of the contract (to $26 for store workers and 31 for warehouse workers) in the monthly pension rate per year of credited service for future retirees; and new language protecting warehouse employees from layoff.

Elsewhere, members of Local 876 of the United Food and Commercial Workers ratified a 42-month collective bargaining agreement, covering some 4,700 grocery clerks and cashiers at 69 Farmer Jack Markets in the Detroit, mi, metropolitan area. (Farmer Jack is owned by the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. [A&P], which purchased the stores from Borman's, Inc. in 1989.)

Contract terms called for an immediate wage increase of 50 cents an hour for employees at the top of the wage progression, followed by increases of 25 cents an hour in February 1992 and 35 cents an hour in August of 1992 and 1993 (at the expiration of the prior contract, senior clerks hired before August 7, 1987, reportedly earned $10.37 an hour and those hired after that date earned $8.37 an hour); a new starting wage rate of $4.75 an hour (previously, $4.50), with a reopener to set future rate increases scheduled for February 1992; and premium pay for Sunday work for new employees, set at $1 an hour after I year of service and $2 an hour after 2 years.

Other terms included maintenance of the current level of health care benefits by increasing the company's monthly contributions to the health and welfare fund from $304 for each fulltime employee to $319 in February 1992, advancing to $367.41 in February 1993 and $423.74 in February 1994; a boost in the company's pension contribution from 76 cents an hour to 98.1 cents an hour on January 1, 1992, increasing to $ 1. I 0 an hour on January 1, 1993; increases in the monthly pension benefit rate for future retirees, from $17 per year of credited service to $26 in January 1992 and to $30 in January 1994; and enhanced job security language protecting warehouse employees from layoffs during the term of the contract.
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Title Annotation:Developments in industrial relations
Author:Cimini, Michael H.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Dec 1, 1991
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