The pending merger of Albertsons and Safeway prompted Southern California employers and union members to opt for a two-year labor contract that will expire in March 2016, by which time the two sides expect the merger dust to settle.


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The agreement, retroactive to last March, was approved last week. It covers 60,000 members of the seven locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union who work for Albertsons, Safeway-owned Vons and Kroger-owned Ralphs.

While the new contract maintains existing employer payment levels to the health and welfare fund and the pension fund, it boosts wages for journeyman clerks and meat cutters by 30 cents an hour in the first year — to $20.10 for clerks and $21.38 for meat cutters — and adds a lump-sum bonus of 25 cents for each hour worked during that year, which could come to about $600 for a fulltime employee working 40 hours a week.

According to a UFCW spokesman, “The two-year length of the contract is unusual, but it’s because of the uniqueness of the situation. With Albertsons and Safeway merging at the end of this year or sometime next year, no one could confidently project the number of hours needed for contributions to the health and welfare and the pension funds.”

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