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LOS ANGELES -- The three grocery chains Albertsons, Safeway's Vons, and Kroger's Ralphs, that had been facing the threat of a strike in Southern California, said late last night they were happy the early news was that their contract settlement with local unions had been ratified by the rank and file.
Chains early this morning were still awaiting official confirmation from the unions.
The four-year contract, retroactive to March 6, 2007, covers more than 65,000 employees, who work at nearly 800 stores throughout Southern California.
Safeway chairman, president, and CEO Steve Burd, who has been leading a crusade for health care reform, said, "This new agreement will provide employees with the best wages, benefits, and working conditions in the Southern California retail market. This contract also contains some unique and groundbreaking reforms in the healthcare plan. We know from experience these changes will create an improved health plan for our employees that focuses on improving their health through prevention and wellness while simultaneously helping control escalating healthcare costs."
The contract was the result of six months of negotiations during which the important and complex issues surrounding healthcare, wages, pensions and other benefits were addressed using innovative solutions that benefit both employees and the company.