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Retail trade contracts.

In Southern California, a total of 18,000 workers were covered by contracts the Food and Commercial Workers and the Teamsters unions negotiated with the Food Employees Council, comprising eight grocery store chains. The Food and Commercial Workers agreement for meat department employees provides for wage increases totaling 35 cents an hour over the term; expands apprenticeship opportunities; more precisely defines meatcutters' duties; reduces employee eligibility for medical and dental insurance coverage to 64 hours of work per month; and guarantees 16 hours of work per week to part-time employees to assure that they will benefit from the eased eligibility.

The 21-month contract, which will expire at the same time as the existing contract for retail clerks, also represented by the Food and Commercial Workers, provides for a July 1989 merger of pension and health and welfare funds for the two groups of employees.

The 3-year Teamsters' accord, covering 8,000 warehouse personnel and truck drivers employed by the eight chains, also was expected to set a pattern for Teamsters settlements for 4,000 employees of other firms.

Over the term, employees will receive wage increases totaling $1.30 an hour. Pay progression from the starting rate to the top rate was cut to 18 months, from 3 years, and the employers also agreed to two 10-cent-an-hour increases in benefits funding. Under the prior agreement, maximum pay rates were $14.52 an hour for drivers and $14.19 for warehouse employees.

In the Eugene, OR, area, 1,000 grocery, bakery, and meat department employees were covered by a November settlement between Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 and Food Employers, Inc., comprising Safeway Stores, Albertson's Inc., Fred Meyer Inc., and other chains.

During the 3 -year agreement, which was retroactive to February 7, 1988, full-time employees will receive two 20-cent-an-hour increases in their wage rates, bringing the rates to $12.46 for meatcutters and $10.03 for other employees. The increases do not apply to part-time courtesy clerks, who will now advance to $4 an hour, from $3.80, after they have worked 520 hours.

The settlement also extends the progression period for journeypersons to 30 months, from 24, and obligates the employers to increase their financing of health and welfare benefits to $112 a month, from $84.

Elsewhere, the Food and Commercial Workers settled with Bradlees Department Store Co. for 3,000 employees of 24 stores in New Jersey and upstate New York.

According to the union, the major issues were company proposals to assume sole administration of the health and welfare and pension funds and to reduce fund reserves. Under the settlement, the parties will continue to jointly administer the funds and the minimum level of reserves was determined by an actuarial firm.

Over the 3-year term, hourly wage increases will range from $1.15 for employees with less than I year of service to $1.40 for those with 10 or more years. Previous wage rates ranged from $5 to $7 an hour.

In addition to a requirement that health and welfare benefits be maintained at current levels, the contract calls for increases in the schedule of dental benefits; a $2 increase in the $14 a month pension rate for each year of service for current employees; and a "bonus" lump-sum payment in 1989 and 1990 to current retirees. The bonus will be equal to I month's pension check.
COPYRIGHT 1989 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Developments in Industrial Relations
Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Feb 1, 1989
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