The union that represents Meijer's department store employes, the United Food and Commercial Workers, negotiated 55 two-tier contracts -- more than any other union -- in 1983 and 1984, according to the Bureau of National Affairs.

Other major negotiators of such contracts were the International Association of Machinists, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the United Auto Workers, BNA said.

The Teamsters national trucking agreement -- now awaiting a vote by members -- includes a controversial "two-tier" wage scale in which new employes would earn substantially less than current employes.

BNA noted that it may be unaware of some additional two-tier plans because the contract settlement reports it uses don't refer to two-tier plans that were negotiated previously and were left unchanged.

In 1983, the median first-year wage increase in two-tier settlements was 35 cents an hour, or 3.2 percent, compared with 42.7 cents, or 5 percent, in all contracts. Last year, two-tier contracts had a median increase of 17.5 cents an hour, or 2 percent, compared with all contracts which had a median increase of 38.5 cents or 4.4 percent, BNA said.

Among non-manufacturing employers, the 1983 median increase for two-tier contracts was 35 cents an hour, or 3.5 percent. That compared with a 50 cents an hour increase, 55 percent, for all contracts. Last year, the two-tier median increase in the non-manfacturing sector was 33.3 cents an hour, or 4 percent, compared with the median rise for all contracts of 35 cents, or 4 percent.

In some non-manufacturing industries, however, BNA said that the median increases for two-tier contracts "were significantly higher than for all settlements." In wholesale and retail, for example, the 1984 median for settlements with two-tier plans was 22.5 cents an hour, or 2.3 percent, much higher than the median increase for all contracts of 5 cents, or 0.4 percent.

Comparable figures were not available for manufacturing contracts.

The Labor Department also keeps track of some two-tier settlements. Some of them are:

* Briggs and Stratton's Local 232 of the Allied Industrial workers accepted a 3-year contract in 1983 in which hiring rates were reduced as much as $2.50 an hour for new employes. They will generally progress to the same maximum as employes already on the payroll except that it will take them 78 weeks, instead of 65. New employes in two heavily populated grades will have both lower starting and maximum pay rates than incumbent employes.

* Associated General Contractors of America, Inc. signed a two-year contract negotiated in 1983 providing a starter rate for laborer trainees equal to 60 percent of laborer rate, the Labor Department said.

* The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Niagara Mohawk Power Co. of Syracuse, N.Y., agreed to a two-year contract paying new employes $1 an hour less than the previous starting rate.

* Associated General Contractors of America, Inc. and the Construction Employers Association of Texas negotiated an agreement providing establishment of a starter classification effective April 1, 1983, at an hourly rate of about one-half the journeyman rate.

* The Allied Pilots Association agreed with American Airlines on a two-year contract providing that new pilots receive about half the pay of incumbents who earned on average about $110,000 a year.

* Greyhound Lines, agreed to a new two-tier pay structure under which pay rates were cut 7.8 percent for employes on the payroll and rates were reduced more for those hired later.

* United Airlines and the Association of Flight Attendants agreed to a contract providing that during their first five years of employment, new flight attendants will be paid about 25 percent less than current pay scales. Beginning with the sixth year of service, the new employes will move into the appropriate step of the regular 14-year pay progression plan for current employes.

* Frontier Airlines reached an accord with the Air line Employees Association that established two-tier pay systems, cutting the pay of new hires by 35 percent, compared with 11 percent for those already on the payroll. In addition, cockpit crew members, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, agreed to a 35 percent pay cut for new hires and an 8.1 percent cut for current members.

* Others: The Greater New York Association of Meat and Poultry Dealers Inc. and the United Food and Commercial Workers; the Machinists Union and the Boeing Co.; Piedmont Airlines and the Air Line Pilots; United Parcel Service and the Teamsters; United Food and Commercial Workers and Kroger Co. in Atlanta and other parts of Georgia; a coalition of 13 unions and the Kennecott Corp. in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Maryland.