UFCW members at Stater Bros. visited union halls throughout Southern California Tuesday to give thumbs up to a new collective bargaining agreement.

The vote to approve was overwhelming and comes just two weeks after the bulk of the local’s food division members gave similar approval to a contract covering Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons.

“It was a lot better outcome than what we expected,” said member Dawn Tymony, who works at Stater Bros. in Orange. “I’m glad to get the raise and glad that our medical benefits are not as expensive as what I feared,” she said after casting a YES ballot.

Both contracts are substantially similar with pay hikes for all classifications, maintenance of healthcare and pension benefits and a reduction in the progression timetables.

Union officials have made no secret of the fact that Stater Bros.’ historically cooperative relationship with the UFCW has made the ritual of negotiating a new contract a smooth undertaking.

“They are one company that has shown time after time that they want what is best for their employees and their customers and not just their bottom line,” Said Sec.-Tres. Andrea Zinder.