LANDOVER, Md. — New Safeway and Giant-Landover employees in the Baltimore-Washington region who are members of United Food and Commercial Workers Locals 400 and 27 will pay at least $5 per week for individual health coverage, according to new contracts approved by the workers.
Current employees — those hired prior to last week — will continue to have their health insurance fully paid by the chains. Local 400, based here, said the union defeated a company proposal to have all workers pay 10% of their health and welfare costs.
According to a schedule provided by the union, the chains' monthly payment for health and welfare benefits for each full-time worker will range from $351 to $2,301, depending on the benefit plan of the worker. By 2011, that monthly payment will increase to a range of $467 to $3,063.
The new plans also increase the deductible employees must pay from $200 to $300 per year for the two top-tier plans.
The union and the chains also agreed to reduce the costs of retirement benefits by 11.5%. The two sides are scheduled to negotiate a “modified retiree benefit program” during the next 60 days.
The contracts also call for wage increases and a higher starting wage for new hires.
Giant said the new, four-year contracts, which passed by a near-unanimous vote, “provide significantly improved wages and benefits to our store associates.”
A Safeway spokesman declined to comment on the terms of the contracts.
The agreements cover about 23,000 workers at Safeway and Giant. A separate contract will be negotiated for the A&P-owned Super Fresh stores in the region, although Jim Lowthers, president of UFCW Local 400, told SN that the Super Fresh contract usually mirrors the Safeway-Giant agreements.