Southern California Gas and its union workers entered a tentative agreement February 1 on a new contract that will boost pay 10.5 percent over the coming 32 months. \u201cAfter months of negotiation and concessions on both sides, we\u2019re pleased to have reached a tentative agreement,\u201d said Denise King, utility spokesperson. In a prepared statement to its members, Utility Workers Union Local 132 characterized the agreement \u201cas a fair and equitable settlement during a time of economic uncertainty and strife.\u201d The deal\u2014which must be approved by union members\u2014came after workers authorized a strike if an agreement could not be reached. The strike authorization vote came after the utility proposed setting up a two-tier retirement system and trimming worker health care policy contributions. The strike would have idled 5,800 utility workers. (Circuit, Jan. 27, 2009) Neither King nor the union would comment on the specifics of the agreement. The union is set to complete a vote on the deal by February 13 in a series of meetings scheduled around the utility\u2019s service area. King said the utility hopes union members will approve the deal.