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    Shoppers Workers Ratify New Contract

    Agreement includes a healthcare maintenance-of-benefits provision

    After protracted negotiations, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy workers who are members of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 have ratified a two-year collective-bargaining agreement.

    The contract, like one recently ratified by Giant-Landover and Safeway workers, includes a maintenance-of-benefits provision requiring Landover, Md.-based Shoppers, a division of Supervalu in Minneapolis, to contribute to workers’ health-and-welfare plan to pay all health benefits.

    The Activist Contact Team (ACT!) and a 20-member bargaining advisory committee comprising Shoppers rank-and-file workers worked on the agreement.

    “The result is an agreement that keeps middle-class grocery jobs in Maryland and Virginia and lays the groundwork for the company’s future success and profitability,” said Tom McNutt, president of Landover-based UFCW Local 400, which represents 40,000 members working in the retail food, healthcare, retail department store, food-processing, service and other industries in Washington, DC; Maryland; Virginia; West Virginia; Ohio; Kentucky; and Tennessee.

    Key contract provisions include bonuses to be paid within two weeks and across-the-board wage increases to take effect on July 2, 2013; full funding of health benefits with no increase in members’ out-of-pocket costs and improved coverage in areas such as HPV vaccinations and endodontic care (root canals); and continued retirement security with all current pension benefits maintained and new steps implemented to resolve funding issues.

    "We are pleased that our employees have ratified a new contract that will allow us to continue to serve our customers while providing [associates] with good wages; access to quality, affordable healthcare; and retirement benefits," noted a Supervalu spokesman when contacted by Progressive Grocer, adding that the company appreciated "the hard work, support and patience that everyone has shown throughout the negotiation process."

    The agreement, which covers 2,500 Local 400 members, took effect retroactively on July 7, and ends on July 7, 2014.

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