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Grocery settlements.

Grocery settlements

New 5-year agreements, covering about 8,200 workers in Phoenix and Tucson, AZ, were signed by the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Arizona Employers Council, the bargaining agent for three grocery chains--Safeway Stores, Fry's, and ABCO Markets. (Previous labor contracts ran for 3 years.) The longer duration of the new pacts allows the parties to meet the challenge from the recent entrance of new nonunion supermarket chains into the retail food industry.

Contract terms call for a 30-cent-per-hour increase in the $10.87 rate of employees at the top of the wage progression scale, effective December 1989, followed by a 25-cent-per-hour increase in December 1991 and a 40-cent increase in December 1993. Starting rates were increased to $4.75 per hour (previously, $4.50), and progress to $5.50 after 90 days (previously, 780 hours); in December 1990, rates for new hires are set at $5 per hour, increasing to $6 after 90 days. Lump-sum payments of $500 each will be distributed to employees at the top of the wage progression scale in February 1991 and December 1992, with proportionally smaller payments to employees advancing up the wage progression scale.

Other terms include:

* A $73.55 increase in the employers' $193.95 monthly payment to the health and welfare fund for each worker beginning in June 1991, subject to two additional $20 increases if needed to maintain benefit levels.

* Changing Easter Sunday and Memorial Day from holidays to floating personal days, effective in 1990.

* A temporary 3-year cut in Sunday premium pay from time and one-half to time and one-quarter, and in daily overtime pay from time and one-half to straight time.

Elsewhere in the industry, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 signed a 3-year pact with Acme Markets, Inc., covering about 8,000 clerks working at 60 locations in the Philadelphia, PA, area. The agreement, coming as a product of an "interest bargaining process" in which the parties determined areas of mutual interest, was negotiated 1 month before the expiration of the previous contract.

Under the terms of the contract, teh multiclassification scheme, in which each classification had its own wage progression, was replaced with a single job classification scheme, with a single wage progression. In addition, the rate for new hires increased to $5 per hour, and progresses to $12 per hour after 5 years. Employees currently earning less than $12 per hour were integrated into the wage progression scale, with their rates depending on their seniority; workers earning more than $12 per hour get a 60-cent raise in each of the 3 years.

As for benefits, monthly pension rates for full-time employees were increased $5 (to $20) for each year of past service, and $2 (to $30) for each year of future service. The rates for part-time workers were boosted $6 (to $14) per year of service for both past and future service. The multitiered health and welfare plan was replaced by a plan with two coverage levels, one for full-timers with fewer than 5 years seniority and the other for employees with 5 years or more of service. In addition, part-timers became eligible for basic coverage after 60 days of service, and advance to a more extensive plan after 2 years.

The contract also provides a package of "fairly contemporary" provisions for part-timers. In addition to the improved pension and health benefits, minimum hours were raised from 12 hours per week to 20 hours, and maximum hours from 29 to 35. The company agreed to expand full-time positions by 10 percent, and to establish tuition and education benefits and child care/day care assistance.

The parties agreed to expand the scope of the Quality of Work Life program established under the prior agreement by adding authority to deal with new issues such as breaks and quitting time. In addition, a joint safety committee will be established to address the problem of repetitive motion injuries.
COPYRIGHT 1990 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Title Annotation:Developments in Industrial Relations
Author:Cimini, Michael H.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Mar 1, 1990
Words:654
Previous Article:BASF lockout ends.
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