According to Bloomberg BNA, average first-year wages increased by 2.6 percent in 2015, compared to 2.1 percent in 2014. Median first-year wages increased 2.3 percent, compared with 2 percent in 2014, and the weighted average increased to 3.6 percent from 2.6 percent in 2014. The average increase in settlements rose to 3.2 percent when construction and state and local government contracts were excluded, compared with 2.5 percent in 2014. The median increase when the sectors were excluded rose to 2.6 percent from 2.5 percent in 2014, and the weighted average increased to 3.8 percent from 2.6 percent. Average first-year wage settlements increased by 3.1 percent when lump-sum payments were included, compared with 2.4 percent in 2014. The median increase when lump sums were included was 2.5 percent, compared with 2.2 percent in 2014, and the weighted average was 5.7 percent, compared with 2.9 percent in 2014.    


A majority of the 100 UFCW bargaining units at Colorado and Wyoming Alberstons, Safeway, and King Soopers grocery stores ratified 40-month contracts that incorporate improvements in wages, including resolving several two-tier wage systems, and health care and pension benefits.    


The Atomic Trades and Labor Council, part of the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, ratified a five-year labor contract with Energy Department contractor Consolidated Nuclear Security, covering about 1,100 workers at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The contract includes a yearly three percent pay raise, improvements to health care and pension benefits, and a $2,500 ratification bonus.    


The CWA ratified three contracts covering about 24,000 AT&T workers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The four-year contracts, covering AT&T Southeast, AT&T Billing Southeast, and AT&T Southeast Utility Operations, include a three percent pay raise during the first two years, a 2.25 percent raise during the third year, and a 2.5 percent raise during the fourth year, as well as a cap on weekly overtime and an increase in worker health insurance costs.    


International Association of Machinists (IAM) Districts 141 and 142 reached tentative agreements with Hawaiian Airlines Inc. on two five-year contracts covering 700 mechanics and 1,500 office, clerical, store, and service employees. The agreements provide for pay raises, increased job security, and the maintenance of health care costs and profit-sharing and incentive programs. The mechanics will receive an 11 percent pay raise retroactive to October 1, two percent pay raises for the next three years, and a three percent pay raise during the fifth year. Other workers will receive a five percent retroactive pay raise, two percent hikes during the next two years, and three percent pay raises during the fourth and fifth years. A ratification vote will occur on January 8, 2015.    


The CWU and the Bartenders Union ratified a four-year collective bargaining agreement with the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas resort-casino covering about 2,000 workers. Under the terms of the contract, workers will receive an additional $1-3 per hour, premium-free family health insurance, pension contributions, and guaranteed 40-hour workweeks for full-time workers.    


IAM Local S6 ratified a four-year contract with Bath Iron Works, a shipbuilding subsidiary of General Dynamics, covering 3,600 workers. The contract allows the company to assign workers additional responsibilities, changes overtime rules to calculate hours on a weekly—instead of a daily—basis, and requires workers to give three-days’ notice prior to taking a week of annual leave—instead of no notice, as under the previous policy. Additionally, the contract provides that employee health insurance premiums will remain constant and that, in 2018, copays will rise from $25 to $30 for office visits, and employees will be responsible for a health care deductible. Pay will not increase, but employees will receive a $2,500 bonus for each year that the contract is in effect, and the company will increase its pension contributions over the term of the contract from $2.35 per hour worked to $2.85 per hour worked.    


The Detroit Casino Council, an association consisting of UNITE HERE Local 24, Teamsters Local 372, UAW Local 7777, and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 324, ratified similar five-year contracts with three Detroit casino-hotels. Under the contract, the 7,000 workers represented by the council will receive a $4,250 lump-sum bonus, no increase in health insurance premium costs, a two percent or 30-cents per hour raise, whichever is larger, in the fourth year, and a three percent or 45-cents raise in the fifth year. Additionally, part-time workers—who currently receive two sick or personal days after two years of employment—will receive three sick or personal days after five years of employment.    


The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United ratified agreements covering 1,440 registered nurses at three Sutter Health hospitals in California. The contracts provide for wage increases of about four percent per year for four years at two of the nonprofit chain’s hospitals—Sutter Roseville and Sutter Auburn Faith. At the third hospital—Sutter Tracy, at which a contract was negotiated for the first time—the contract establishes a wage grid that includes across the board increases and links wage increases to seniority. Wages will increase up to 21 percent over four years at Sutter Tracy. The union has staged 13 strikes over the past five years at Sutter Health hospitals.    


UAW Local 883 members ratified a four-year contract with Kohler Co., covering 2,200 of the company’s workers in Wisconsin. The two-tier wage structure among the employees—under which newer employees are paid only 65 percent of what longer-serving employees make—was a sticking point in the negotiations, leading to a month-long strike by the employees. The collective bargaining agreement narrows the gap between the tiers by raising newer employees’ base wages according to their job classifications, then boosting wages by 50 cents per hour for each year of the contract. Longer-serving employees will see their wages boosted by 50 cents per hour in each year of the contract. Employee contributions to health care premiums will increase under the contract, but deductibles will remain the same as under the previous contract.    


Fractional ownership carrier NetJets Inc. agreed to a five-year contract with its pilots’ independent union, NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots. Under the agreement, the 2,700 pilots represented by the union will receive signing bonuses and a 28 percent pay raise during the duration of the contract. Additionally, the contract covers improved scheduling options, seniority rights, and scope of work protections. NetJets Inc. is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.    


The United Steelworkers reached a tentative three-year agreement with U.S. Steel Corp., covering 18,000 workers who are represented by 26 locals at more than a dozen of the company’s facilities. Details of the agreement are being withheld pending ratification in January 2016. The union will continue negotiations with ArcelorMittal in January 2016. The union’s previous contracts with the companies expired on September 1, 2015.    


UAW Local 699 ratified a collective bargaining agreement with Nexteer Automotive, an auto components manufacturer, covering 3,400 workers. The union rejected a previous deal and went on a one-day strike over the proposed terms. The ratified contract includes a $2,000 signing bonus, the elimination of employee health care premiums, and increased worker compensation. Production workers can earn as much as $15.35-$18.69 per hour under the terms of the ratified contract, while specialized employees will earn up to $19.56 by the end of the contract. Semi-skilled workers wages will rise to $21.37 per hour and be augmented by lump sum payouts. Skilled employees, whose base wages remain at $30 per hour, will also receive lump sum payments. Additionally, under the ratified contract, temporary workers will be permanently hired and offered health insurance after working for 90 days.    


SEIU Local 32BJ, which represents 75,000 janitors on the U.S. East Coast, ratified or reached tentative agreements on a number of four-year collective bargaining agreements covering its members, including the following:  


Local 32BJ ratified a four-year agreement with the Building Owners and Managers Association, a coalition of 170 building owners in suburban Philadelphia, covering more than 1,400 office cleaners. The contract includes a wage increase from $12.35 per hour to $14.30 per hour over the life of the contract, places no health care premium share for workers, and preserves all of the employees’ benefits under the previous contract. Local 32BJ represents 22,000 office cleaners in Pennsylvania.  


The local also ratified a four-year contract with the New Jersey Contractors Association covering 7,000 office cleaners at more than 500 New Jersey office buildings. The contract provides for wage increases for the lowest-paid workers from $10.55 per hour in July 2016 to $12.20 per hour by the end of the contract.  


The highest paid workers will get raises from $15.90 per hour in July 2016 to $17.30 per hour by the end of the contract. Under the terms of the agreement, employers will continue to pay all health care benefits. Union members earlier voted to authorize a strike if an agreement was not reached.  


Likewise, Local 32BJ ratified a four-year agreement with the Hudson Valley/Fairfield County Contractors Association, covering 3,500 janitors at about 250 buildings in New York’s Hudson Valley and Fairfield County, Connecticut. The agreement provides for a wage increase from $14.10 per hour to $16.05 over the duration of the contract. Under the contract, an average janitor will earn between $29,328 and $33,384, not including benefits. Employers will continue to pay health, training, and legal benefits under the terms of the contract. Union members earlier voted to authorize a strike if an agreement was not reached by December 31, 2015.   


Local 32BJ reached a tentative four-year agreement with the Realty Advisory Board, Inc. covering 23,000 janitors and building workers at about 1,200 commercial properties in New York City. The agreement provides for a 14.8 percent wage increase over the duration of the contract while maintaining health care and retirement benefits at current levels. Under the agreement, a typical office cleaner’s wages will increase from $49,760 to $55, 324 over the life of the contract.  


Similarly, the local reached two tentative four-year agreements with the Hartford County Cleaning Contractors Association covering about 2,100 office cleaners at about 160 buildings in Connecticut. The proposed terms maintain workers’ health care benefits and include a $1.60 raise over the duration of the contracts for workers in Hartford and a $1.70 raise for workers in New Haven.    


Following four years of negotiations, Transportation Workers Union Local 555 reached a tentative agreement on the terms of a five-year labor contract with Southwest Airlines Co., covering about 12,000 ground workers. The proposal includes a salary-based ratification bonus and a pay raise of about 20 percent over the life of the contract. Additionally, the proposal allows Southwest to change employee job duties and to use third-party workers.    


Nearly 320 members of Teamsters Local 727 reached a tentative three-year labor agreement with Coca-Cola Refreshments, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Co., ending a four-week strike. Under the proposed agreement, workers will receive a three percent raise in the first year, retroactive to May 1, 2015, and 2.5 percent raises in 2016 and 2017. Coca-Cola also agreed to match employee 401(k) contributions by 50 percent, up to 10 percent of each worker’s income. The proposal provides that employees may enroll in a health plan that previously only covered managers, reducing their health care premiums from $22.50 to $15.69 per week for employee-only coverage. Health care premiums will increase from $45 to $55.62 per week for employee-plus-one coverage and will decrease from $80.50 to $38.77 for employee-plus-family coverage. Additionally, the proposal eliminates management discretion in assigning mandatory overtime. Instead, overtime will be assigned on a volunteer basis unless an insufficient number of employees volunteer, in which case it will be assigned to employees according to “reverse seniority.”