US supermarket chains Giant and Safeway have avoided a possible strike in the Baltimore-Washington area as workers voted to ratify a new four-year contract.

Workers at Giant’s stores in the area voted to ratify the agreement only hours after a similar agreement was passed by Safeway workers, reported Dow Jones News.

The agreements cover around 26,000 employees at Giant and Safeway stores in Maryland, northern Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Giant, which is owned by Dutch retailer Ahold, and Safeway are the two largest supermarket chains in the area but face increasing competition from non-union discount retailers such as Wal-Mart.