Giant Eagle OKs Raises for Union Employees

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Giant Eagle OKs Raises for Union Employees

Giant Eagle Supermarket, Inc. approved two new four-year labor contracts Friday that give store workers and meat cutters at 36 corporate-owned markets a $1.55-an-hour raise over four years, union officials said.

Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 23 approved the agreements, which cover about 5,800 workers at 34 Giant Eagle stores in western Pennsylvania and two in West Virginia. The contracts give union members a wage increase of 40 cents an hour in each of the first two years, then 35 cents an hour, followed by 40 cents an hour in the fourth year, said Anthony Helfer, president of UFCW Local 23 in Canonsburg, Pa.

The union’s bargaining committee had unanimously endorsed the settlement, which Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle and the union had reached on June 18.

While wage increases and benefits are similar for grocery store workers and meat cutters, there are separate issues for both groups, Helfer explained. About 3,000 store workers earn less than $9.30 an hour, while meat cutters earn about $17 an hour, he said.

In addition to salary and health care increases, Helfer said, Giant Eagle agreed to a 43-cents-an-hour increase to its employee pension plan in the first year of the contract, a move expected to cost the company nearly $39 million in wages and benefits over the next four years.