BALTIMORE (AP) — A union representing grocery store workers in the Baltimore-Washington region has ratified new labor contracts with both Giant Food and Safeway.

Giant Food said in a statement that it finalized the three-year agreement Wednesday with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which covers nearly 17,000 employees.

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Safeway workers also agreed to a three-year agreement that takes effect immediately. Safeway officials said in a statement that it is increasing its minimum wages across all its contracts. All wages now start at over $9 an hour.

The agreements involved the UFCW Local 27, which covers the Baltimore area and the UFCW Local 400, which includes workers elsewhere in Maryland and in northern Virginia and Washington.

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Had the deals not been reached Friday, union workers could have gone on strike.

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