Grocery workers approve contract

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SEATTLE — A spokesman for union grocery workers in six Puget Sound-area counties says employees have overwhelmingly approved a new contract that averted a threatened walkout at four major grocery store chains.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 spokesman Tom Geiger said Thursday that the agreement protects workers' health benefits, secures pensions and provides some wage increases.

Allied Employers negotiated on behalf of Albertsons, QFC, Fred Meyer and Safeway.

Vice President Scott Powers says the employers "are pleased to continue to provide good wages, secure pensions and access to quality, affordable health care for our employees."