TEAMSTERS RATIFY CONTRACT WITH GIANT FOOD

LANDOVER, Md. -- The union covering some 1,000 workers at two Giant Food warehouses here has ratified a new contract -- less than a year after a truck-drivers strike crippled the chain's distribution system.id Gaye Williams, spokeswoman for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Washington."The main issue was the future of the Giant Food work force," Williams said. "After the strike, Giant decided

LANDOVER, Md. -- The union covering some 1,000 workers at two Giant Food warehouses here has ratified a new contract -- less than a year after a truck-drivers strike crippled the chain's distribution system.

id Gaye Williams, spokeswoman for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Washington.

"The main issue was the future of the Giant Food work force," Williams said. "After the strike, Giant decided to leave its distribution in the hands of the Teamsters."

The contract, which covers more than 1,000 workers at warehouses in Landover and Jessup, Md., does not allow layoffs if Giant uses outside contractors to do work typically done by Teamster members.

The union also said the new contract includes significant improvements in health care benefits and major increases in pensions. In addition, for the first time ever, the contract provides health benefits for retirees, until they are eligible for Medicare. Bonuses of $2,300 over the term of the contract were also included.

The contract, which expires May 12, 2001, provides strong protection against unfair production standards that would jeopardize workers' health and safety, the union said. In addition, joint union/employer health and safety committees will be set up in each warehouse.

The previous contract expired Nov. 8 and the warehouse employees worked under a tentative agreement until the ratification vote, which was held the following day.

"Giant deserves a lot of credit for its commitment to keeping good jobs in the community," Williams said.