Union-represented journalists at the combined Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times overwhelmingly approved their first contract last night in a 57-2 vote. The Trib had a union contract before the papers merged in 2007, but the CC Times was non-union. As a result, the combined papers now have their first union deal. The new agreement includes some significant improvements over the old Trib contract, including a $39,000 annual minimum pay for full-time reporters. The minimum under the old pact was about $30,000. The new deal also includes better severance pay in case of layoffs. The speed with which the two sides reached agreement also was impressive. It took MediaNews three years to agree to a contract after the last deal with the Trib's union employees expired, and it took twelve years to negotiate the first union contract with the company.