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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Meijer Inc. and the United Food and Commercial Workers union have reached a tentative labor contract for 36,000 Michigan employees, according to local press reports.
The employees currently are paid $6 to $18 an hour depending on experience and position, union leaders said. The agreement reached Friday would raise wages 13 percent over 4 1/2 years.
That would make Meijer employees the highest-paid grocery workers in the Midwest, Meijer spokesman John Zimmerman said.
"We worked very hard to make sure our team members got the best contract out there," Zimmerman said. "If you want the best people, you've got to pay them."
The agreement also would extend current employee health-care benefits through the life of the contract. That likely was an important issue for workers, Zimmerman said.
The employees will be able to vote on the contract through Sept. 2.
The contract contains a standard clause that would allow Meijer to ask the union for financial relief if a large discount food and general merchandise operation opens within a 15-mile radius of a Meijer store. Wal-Mart is not named, but it is the obvious competitor.