According to Bloomberg BNA, as of May 15, average first year wages increased 2.5 percent in 2017, compared to 2.7 percent in 2016. Median first year wages increased 2.3 percent, compared to 2.5 percent in 2016, and the weighted average increased 2.7 percent, compared to 4.3 percent in 2016. Average first year wages increased 2.8 percent once construction and state and local government contracts were excluded, compared to 3.1 percent in 2016. Median first year wages, when the sectors were excluded, increased 2.5 percent, down from 2.8 percent in 2016, and the weighted average increased 2.6 percent, down from 4.7 percent in 2016. Factoring in lump sum payments, average first year wages increased 2.8 percent, compared to 2.9 percent in 2016. Median first year wages increased 2.5 percent, the same as in 2016, while weighted average wages increased 2.8 percent, down from 4.4 percent in 2016. Once construction and state and local government contracts are excluded, wages including lump sums increased 3.1 percent, down from 3.5 percent in 2016, while the median wages increased 2.7 percent, down from 3.0 percent in 2016, and the weighted average increased 3.4 percent, down from 4.8 percent in 2016.      

The Writers Guild reached an agreement with major media broadcasters, including CBS, 21st Century Fox Inc., and AMC Networks Inc., avoiding a strike as the broadcasters compete to keep viewers and advertisers. The agreement provides writers with pay increases, more residual income from show reruns, and higher health plan contributions. The last screen writers’ strike, which lasted 100 days in the 2007-2008 season, cost the entertainment industry $2 billion.      

SEIU Healthcare Illinois reached an agreement with the Illinois Association of Healthcare Facilities, avoiding what would have been the largest strike of nursing-care workers in U.S. history. SEIU-represented nursing home workers had been working for more than a year without a contract by the time the deal was reached. Ninety-seven percent of the workers voted to ratify the new three-year contract, covering 10,000 caregivers across 103 Illinois nursing homes. The contract provides for 20 to 40 percent wage increases over the term of the agreement, greater accountability for safe staffing standards, a 40 percent increase over the term of the contract in employer pension contributions, and expanded workers’ rights and on-the-job protections.      

St. Rose Hospital in Hayward, Calif. reached a four-year agreement with 300 California Nurses Association (CNA)-represented nurses. The agreement provides the nurses with a 20 percent wage increase over the life of the contract, which will raise the average wage for a nurse with five years’ experience to $60.43 per hour. The contract also provides for lower health insurance premiums, which will drop from 13.5 percent to no more than eight percent, and lower health insurance deductibles, which will drop by half. Nurses’ paid time off will increase by 54 hours to 76 hours annually, depending on years of service, under the contract.     

About 1,000 members of United Steelworkers (USW), Locals 164 (Des Moines, Iowa), 754 (Freeport, Ill.), and 890 (Bryan, Ohio), approved five-year contracts with Titan International, Inc. The contract is retroactive to November 16, 2016, providing workers a $1,100 signing bonus, wage increases in the third, fourth, and fifth years of the contract, and health care coverage, the terms of which differ slightly for each union local.      

American Crystal Sugar Co. employees represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, and Tobacco Workers Union approved a five-year contract providing employees a $2,250 signing bonus, three percent raises in each of the first four years of the contract, and a 2.75 percent raise in the fifth year.     

IBEW members ratified a five-year contract with AT&T, covering 5,000 workers in Illinois and Northwest Indiana. The contract provides workers a $1,000 signing bonus and wage increases totaling 13.25 percent over five years. For employees with 401(k) plans, the agreement provides for 80 percent employer matches of up to six percent of workers’ wages. Employees on traditional pension plans will receive a one percent pension band increase each year through 2022. The contract maintains employees’ existing medical plan coverage and provides new options for contributions and deductibles. Separately, AT&T committed to hiring 1,000 additional IBEW members over the next five years.