ROSEVILLE, Calif. — Members of four Northern California locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers union voted overwhelmingly last week to approve new, four-year contracts with Raley's Food & Drug and Save Mart Supermarkets. However, negotiations between the union and Safeway are ongoing on a contract that expires Dec. 1. The wage settlement, which totals $1.80 in increases for journeyman food clerks and meat cutters over the four years, includes a 70-cent hourly increase in the first year — the largest across-the-board wage increase in the history on Northern California grocery contracts, the UFCW said. Wage increases will total 40 cents in the second year of the agreement and 35 cents per year in the third and fourth years. The contracts also shortened by 15 months (from 40 months to 25 months) the time required for new hires to move from Plan C medical coverage to Plan B, although it added 12 months to the time required to move from Plan B to Plan A, the union said; and shortened the time members can get health coverage for their children from 19 months to six months. The contracts also eliminate annual deductibles for dental and prescription drugs while increasing the annual benefits; reduce co-pays for maintenance drugs; implement health reimbursement accounts by January, 2009; and standardize the expiration date for all four locals. Workers at Save Mart's Lucky Stores approved the contract terms by a 92% vote, while employees at Raley’s and its Bel-Air subsidiary voted 89% in favor.
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