WASHINGTON -- Union members at Safeway and Giant Food stores here, in Baltimore and northern Virginia overwhelmingly ratified new four-year agreements last week that create a temporary tier of employees with lesser health benefits.
Annual major medical deductibles for existing employees will double to $200 a year, with no change in co-pays for doctor visits and a slight increase in co-pays for prescription medications, while new employees will have a $300 deductible and pay more for prescriptions until their sixth year of service.
Current workers will continue to earn time-and-a-half for Sunday and holiday work, while new hires will get a premium pay increase of $1 an hour in their first year of employment, $1.50 the second year, $2 the third year, and moving up to full time-and-a-half at the end of 60 months for Sunday and holiday work.
The companies will not provide health care coverage for family members of newly hired part-time workers until they have been employed for six years.
The employers will maintain payments on pension costs for all employees, regardless of length of service.
The agreements cover approximately 8,000 members of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 27 in Baltimore and 18,000 members of Local 400 here.