GREELEY, Colo. – Union negotiators and JSB USA recently reached a tentative labor agreement, averting a strike.

The bargaining committee for the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7 fully recommended the proposed deal, which will be put to a vote on July 22. Local 7 represents 3,000 workers at the JBS USA beef-processing plant in Greeley, Colo.

Local 7 members rejected an earlier offer submitted by JBS USA on concerns that the deal shifted too much of the burden of health benefit costs onto employees. The tentative agreement provides for "affordable health insurance, which is guaranteed for the life of the contract", according to a UFCW statement.  

The proposed agreement also includes, among other benefits, a $1.80 hour pay increase over the five-year term of the agreement; a 60 cents per hour increase in the first year to be paid retroactively to the original contract expiration date of Sept. 29, 2013; benefits and guarantees in case of plant closing or shift elimination and plant-wide seniority for job bidding.

JBS USA, a subsidiary of Sáo Paulo, Brazil-based JBS SA, and representatives of the UFCW Local 7 have been in contract negotiations since Aug. 1, 2013.