The 47,000 workers of more than 500 supermarkets in Southern California ratified a collective contract with a wage increase of $4.25 per hour for the next three years.
The Union of Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) reported that employees of seven union branches, including 135, in San Diego County ratified the contract.
The previous three-year contract ended on March 7, and the workers were demanding a raise of $5 per hour after having faced the pandemic as essential employees and in the face of inflation that touches 8 percent.
The Ralphs and Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions supermarket chains initially offered a raise of just 60 cents an hour.
The new contract will also include 7,000 workers from the Food4Less chain.
The workers included in the contract are in positions from north of Los Angeles to the border with Mexico.
The workers also got the new contract to increase the minimum weekly working hours from 24 to 28, for part-time employees.
The new contract also reduces the time required to move up the pay scale, meaning more workers will receive their benefits sooner. "This results in significant increases in net pay, up to $3,000 annually for some employees," the union reported.
According to the union, "the new agreement also improves dental and vision plans and protects pension benefits."
The contract "includes provisions to establish health and safety committees in all supermarket stores. This allows workers to make decisions on health and safety issues in stores to protect workers and customers," the union reported.