In the third quarter of 2018, union contract settlements yielded average first-year pay increase of 3.4 percent (182 collective bargaining agreements), representing the highest third-quarter average increase since 2008. Last year, the third quarter average increase was 2.5 percent, and the second quarter of 2018 saw an average increase of 3.3 percent in wages and 3.6 percent in wages and lump-sum payments—also the highest quarterly increase since 2008.
In the manufacturing sector, union negotiated wage increases declined slightly for the first time since early August, after a steady three percent increase from late August to mid-October. Still, manufacturing-sector contracts ratified in 2018 averaged wage increases of 3.2 percent, ahead of the 2.4 percent reported in 2017 at the same point.
After two years of negotiations, Piedmont Airlines passenger service agents, represented by the Communication Workers of America, ratified a five-year CBA with the airline, an American Airlines subsidiary. The five-year contract covering 6,000 employees, provides for pay increases of at least three percent each year. Agents in 28 states will be affected by the agreement, under which top wages will initially range from $16-$20 per hour, depending on location, and will eventually range from $17.25-$21.75 per hour. The contract will become amendable in 2023, allowing the parties to implement a new pact in five years.
After months of negotiations and a threatened strike, ArcelorMittal and the United Steelworkers reached a four-year deal on a contract covering 15,000 U.S. employees across 13 states. USW employees ratified the deal on November 29. The union did not release specifics of the agreement, although a previous management draft included a 9.8 percent raise over the three years, a $3,000 signing bonus, and increased pension and 401(k) contributions by the company. The primary issue in negotiations was health insurance, with the company wanting to introduce a high-deductible, consumer-driven health plan and a corresponding wage increase.
About 360 Marriott workers at two locations, represented by UNITE HERE, ended strikes and ratified contract agreements, but strikes continue in six other regions. Around 200 housekeepers, porters, waiters, and other hotel workers at the Oakland Marriott, who had been on strike since October 5, ratified a contract on November 2. Meanwhile, approximately 160 Marriott employees in Detroit ratified an agreement on November 3 after striking since October 7. On November 11, workers at the Marriott-managed Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter ratified a labor contract covering about 130 workers, who had also been on strike since October 7. More than 1,400 Marriott employees in Boston ratified a contract and ended a strike on November 16; their strike began October 3. On November 27, about 2,700 Hawaiian workers approved a new CBA, ending their strike that began on October 8. Strikes continue in San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.
Seventy-seven percent of UPS freight workers voted to approve the company’s final, five-year offer, ending the threat of a strike that compelled UPS to stop taking shipments for heavy cargo. The agreement covers 11,600 employees. Terms of the new freight contract are not yet publically available.
The United Steelworkers ratified a four-year labor contract with U.S. Steel Corp. The deal covers 14,000 USW-represented employees at all domestic flat-rolled and iron ore mining facilities and tubular operations in multiple locations across the company. The agreement includes a 14 percent wage increase over the life of the contract and strengthens benefits for workers.