business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that while official notification has not yet been issued, it appears that a majority of the 65,000 unionized employees of Southern California’s three major grocery chains – Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons – have voted to ratify a new four-year contract.

The deal will be retroactive to March 6, which is when the old contract expired, though the workers stayed on the job through a series of mutually agreed upon extensions while negotiations continued.

The accord was reached after nine straight days of marathon bargaining, and reportedly will not only give workers their first scheduled raises since 2002, but also will raise the top wage rate and reduce the amount of time it takes for employees to become eligible for health insurance.
KC's View:
Ratification really is no surprise, but I’m still waiting to see comprehensive discussion of whether the health benefits package accepted by the union was reshaped in the kinds of ways advocated by Safeway CEO Steve Burd. Giving people greater access to health care benefits should have gone hand-in-hand with making them more personally responsible for their own health … or, at least, that’s the way it was supposed to work.