LOS ANGELES — Officials from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union locals here told SN they expected that workers would ratify the tentative agreement reached with the Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons chains this week. “We turned around the vast majority of the damage done with the last contract,” said one official, who asked not to be identified. Without offering specific details, officials said the union had met its goals, including wage increases; eliminating the so-called second tier and ensuring that all employees will be eligible to achieve the top wage rate; and reducing the number of hours newer workers have to wait to qualify for health insurance. Published reports here said the new contract will enable second-tier employees hired under the previous contract to make up the hourly wage gap of $1-$3 between them and workers who had been hired prior to that contract, and it will enable them to qualify for health benefits after six months, rather than waiting 18 months for themselves and 30 months for their children.
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