Arizona grocery workers voting on new contract

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX (AP) — About 25,000 Fry's and Safeway workers in Arizona are being asked to approve a new three-year contract that was worked out last month to avert a grocery strike.

The contract offer was mailed Monday to union members for approval and released to the media Wednesday. It reflects compromises by the retailers and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 99, which represents workers.

Members have until Dec. 10 to return the ballots that were mailed out with the contract offer.

The companies agreed to drop a plan to charge employees for health insurance, and the union reduced its demanded wage increase.

Under the proposed contract, most employees also would get a 25-cent-per-hour raise retroactive to Oct. 25 and another 25-cent increase on Oct. 23, 2011. The union had asked for 30 cents and 40 cents. Employees generally earn $7.25 to $12 per hour.