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    St. Louis-area Grocery Associates OK Union Deal

    Contract covers 9,000 UFCW Local 655 workers at three regional chains

    Grocery store workers in the St. Louis area represented by United Food & Commercial Workers Local 655 have approved a three-year salary and benefits agreement with their three employing chains.

    The contract covers more than 9,000 associates working at 104 Dierbergs, Schnucks and Shop ‘n Save supermarkets and pharmacies, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The new agreement, which expires in May 2016, replaces an earlier contract that expired last year; union employees had been working on extensions since then. Covered by the contract are checkers, baggers, stockers and department managers, as well as workers in the bakery, produce, pharmacy, dairy and frozen foods departments.

    Pay Raise, Benefits, Health Plan

    The agreement includes an hourly wage increase of 60 cents over the life of the contract, no overall reduction in benefits, part-time workers' continued participation in the union’s health plan instead of government insurance exchanges, and continuance of the “40 and out” pension benefit. “We were able to address a number of our members’ key concerns that will protect jobs as well as maintain our health and welfare and pension programs,” UFCW Local 655 President David Cook said in a statement. “These have been the most difficult negotiations since I’ve been with our union. Our union and industry faced the perfect storm: a slow economic recovery, an accelerating number of competitors and new laws impacting pension and health care all coming to an apex at the same time.”

    UFCW Local 655 represents more than 10,500 members working in the 46 eastern Missouri counties. Dierbergs, Schnucks and Shop ‘n Save stores in southern Illinois are not covered by this contract; workers at those stores are represented by a Chicago-based local.

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