CVS workers have ratified a new contract that includes increased pay, improved health care benefits, guaranteed hours and additional measures to keep stores safe, union officials said Saturday.

The workers will receive pay increases of nearly 10%, with all wage increases retroactive to July 4, 2021 when the previous contract expired, according to spokeswoman Bertha Rodríguez of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 in Los Angeles.

Voting concluded Friday night for all locals involved, Rodríguez said.

“This contract makes our health benefits more affordable, and is a step towards fairer wages and safer stores. We want to thank consumers and the community for standing with us in this fight for recognition of our sacrifice during the pandemic,” said Darlene Inzunza, a pharmacy lead tech at a CVS store in Los Angeles.

Union officials said the contract was marked by two significant new developments. It was the first CVS contract in which workers sat at the bargaining table and shared their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. Secondly, it established a “ground-breaking worker-composed Health and Safety Committee to address the hazards of working in this sector, both from the pandemic and the rash of violence in stores.”

Safety for workers at chain drug stores has been an issue of increasing urgency. In July, a Rite Aid employee was shot and killed at a store in Glassell Park, allegedly after confronting a pair of shoplifters trying to steal two cases of beer. The UFCW accused Rite Aid of failing to provide adequate security.

Representatives for CVS did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new contract.

The negotiations involved eight UFCW locals in California including Locals 5, 135, 324, 648, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442. Approximately 7,000 CVS workers in California will be covered by the contract, including approximately 2,600 workers in Local 770.

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