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Phoenix-Area Workers Reach Early Settlement

PHOENIX — Union workers for Safeway, Fry’s Food Stores and Smith’s Food and Drug here have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with their employers, according to Local 99 of the United Food and Commercial Workers.

Local 99 said its members would meet next week to vote on the tentative agreement, which was reached more than a month before the Oct. 27 expiration of its current contract.

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“The union and employers were determined to resolve pressing complicated issues, particularly those relating to health care, as soon as possible,” Local 99 said in a statement. “Both sides wished to avoid the delay and acrimony of protracted negotiations. The last negotiations in 2008-2009 took over one year to conclude. The parties had experienced increases in health care costs that motivated both sides to find a solution sooner rather than later.”

Local 99 represents around 25,000 workers at Safeway, based in Pleasanton, Calif., and Fry’s and Smith’s in Arizona. Fry’s and Smith’s are divisions of Kroger, Cincinnati.

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