The Bureau of National Affairs reported statistics for wage increases received by union members during the period of time from January 1 through August 13, 2007. The statistics are reported in two general categories, because some unionized employees receive increases as a percentage increase and others receive lump sum payments. In the manufacturing sector, the average percentage increase for 2007 was 3.2%. This represented an increase from 2.8% for the same period in 2006. Factoring in lump sum payments, the average increase was 4.4%, a decrease from 4.5% for the same period in 2006. The statistics for all employers, including government, construction and nonmanufacturing employers, differed. For all employers, the average increase without lump sum payments, was 2.9%, a decrease from 3.5% during 2006. With lump sum payments, the average increase was 3.4%, a decrease from 4.1% during 2006. An interesting settlement reported was for Meridian Automotive, Inc., in Jackson, Ohio. The employees represented by the Steelworkers Union agreed to a three-year contract with no wage increase the first year, a $0.25/hour increase the second year and $0.35/hour increase in the third year. The employees also agreed to increase the amount of their own contributions to the health insurance plan. These increases probably compare to the results for the employees of Rockwell Automation, Inc., in Milwaukee, represented by the Electrical Workers. These employees agreed to no increase in the first two years of a five-year contract and then increases of 3% for the third, fourth and fifth years of the contract.
According to Alan M. Kaplan, these statistics are important for a number of the Firm’s clients, some of whom are entering into collective bargaining negotiations this fall. In addition, clients whose employees are not represented by unions need to know what unionized employees are receiving so that their own employees do not believe that they are being underpaid and, therefore, deserve union representation. These employers may also want to know which neighboring companies are unionized, the names of the unions in their communities and the history of organizing and strikes by those unions. Having access to statistics published by different governmental agencies, the Firm can provide assistance to clients seeking this information.