Pharmacists at Southern California’s Ralphs stores have unanimously approved a labor contract with the chain, ending a negotiation cycle for the region’s major supermarkets that lasted almost a full year.

The 200 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers at Ralphs pharmacies voted on the contract over a two-week period. The ballots were counted Monday, with the results announced Wednesday on the website of Local 1167, which represents Inland Empire workers.

Pharmacists at Vons and Albertsons voted to accept the companies’ contract proposal in November. But Ralphs’ pharmacists rejected the deal and instead voted to authorize a strike against the company.

Joe Duffle, the president of Local 1167, said in an email that there were concerns about some of the details in the contract, but discussions among the union members and with Ralphs’ executives managed to clear up all the questions and pave the way to ratification.

The contract for all three chains calls for hourly pay to increase to $67, a 3.64% increase, by the end of the three-year deal and includes improved health care and pension benefits.

Negotiations on a contract involving some 60,000 Southern California supermarket workers began last March and lasted almost six months before an agreement was reached. This was followed by new union contracts for workers at Stater Bros. and Gelson’s as well as the pharmacists’ agreement at Albertsons and Vons.

Source: Los Angeles Daily News