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Bloomingdale's, Union Finalize Deal

Members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a new four-year contract, which covers about 2,000 employees at the 59th Street flagship.

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Members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a new four-year contract, which covers about 2,000 employees at the 59th Street flagship.

The new contract provides for a wage increase of $2.15 to $2.45 an hour in each of the four years it covers. The union rejected a merit pay increase the retailer had proposed. The increase is just in excess of 4 percent. A Bloomingdale's spokesman said increases of 3.2 percent to 3.5 percent are the norm for labor contracts. The union's contract expired on March 1 and the RWDSU had threatened a strike if agreement on a new contract couldn't be reached by Wednesday. Prior to the deadline, both sides reached a tentative agreement on all issues except health care. Other points in the new contract include two comp days in exchange for working on a holiday, bereavement pay for domestic partners and $25 taxi fare for employees working on inventory nights. Bloomingdale's also agreed not to add salespeople to commissioned departments without demonstrating to the union a precipitous increase in volume, said Stuart Applebaum, president of the RWDSU.

As for the medical plan, Applebaum said the union "rejected the notion of going to a company plan" as the retailer had proposed. Bloomingdale's and the union agreed to continue discussions on the topic of health care until May 15.
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