• United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1059 members ratified a new three-year contract with Kroger Company. The agreement covers more than 11,000 grocery clerks and meat department employees in 85 Kroger stores in the central Ohio area. The contract increases hourly wages for employees, and also increases employee contributions to health care premiums. Specifically, employees’ weekly contributions to health care premiums will increase to $5 to $12.50 for individuals, $10 to $17.50 for employee plus child, $12.50 to $20 for employee plus spouse, and $15 to $22.50 for families.
  • SEIU Local 615 members in Boston ratified a four-year contract with the Maintenance Contractors of New England, which covers approximately 14,000 janitors in the Boston area. The new agreement converts 680 positions to full-time status, and provides additional guarantees for employment by requiring minimum shifts for janitors working in office buildings of more than 100,000 square feet.
  • Communication Workers of America (CWA) members ratified a four-year contract on health care benefits with AT&T. The agreement covers 42,000 employees nationwide, and creates a two-tier structure that will increase employee health care costs incrementally each year. Agreements pertaining to wages, pensions, and work rules are bargained for separately by region.
  • UAW Local 1050 members ratified a 53-month collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with Alcoa Inc. The collective bargaining agreement covers 650 workers at Alcoa’s manufacturing plant in Cleveland and provides wage increases of 5.5 percent over the duration of the contract. Workers will also receive a $2,000 ratification bonus, and a 3 percent wage increase. Employees’ weekly health care premium contributions will increase to $30 for individuals and $42 for families in 2013, $35 for individuals and $47 for families in 2014, $41 for individuals and $55 for families in 2015, and $48 for individuals and $64 for families in 2016. Deductibles will also increase from $250 for individuals to $300 and from $500 for families to $600.
  • Members of seven UFCW locals ratified three-year collective bargaining agreements with Rite Aid stores across Southern California. The agreements cover approximately 6,500 employees in more than 200 stores. The bargaining agreements provide wage increases, a signing bonus ranging from $200 to $500, and maintains the employees’ contributions to health insurance premiums, which are currently $7 per week for individual coverage, $10.50 per week for couples, and $15 per week for families.
  • United Steelworkers members ratified a three-year agreement with ArcelorMittal USA. The agreement covers almost 14,000 employees at 15 ArcelorMittal mining locations nationwide. Under the agreement, workers will receive 4.5 percent wage increases over the three-year duration, $2,500 lump sum payments, continued health care benefits without employee premium contributions, and includes a commitment from the company to make $1.5 billion in capital investments in the plants.
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1900 members ratified a four-year agreement with Potomac Electric Power Co. (Pepco). The agreement covers 1,150 employees in the Washington, D.C. area. Under the agreement, workers will receive a 2.25 percent wage increase in 2012, and 2.5 percent wage increases in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Under the contract Pepco also agreed “it would not make changes to the health care Plans that are inconsistent as a general matter with similar plans offered by other similar companies. To determine similarity, the parties will consider other similar plans offered as self-insured plans that are generally accepted by the Medical community.”
  • CWA and IBEW members ratified contracts with Verizon which govern almost 45,000 employees in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. The agreements increase wages 8 percent over the duration, provide lump sum payments to employees, introduce employee contributions to the health care premium, and create two tiers for retirement benefits. Under the new contracts, employees will make monthly contributions to their health care premiums for the first time.
  • The New York Times and the Newspaper Guild of New York Local 31003, a CWA affiliate, have reached a “conceptual agreement” on a five-year CBA. While the parties agreed not to release the details of the tentative agreement, it is presumed to include increases to compensation, and preservation of the joint labor-management health care trust and defined benefit pension plan.
  • United Steelworkers members employed by Temple-Inland Paper Company, which was recently purchased by International Paper (IP), have voted to integrate Temple’s 1,100 represented employees into International Paper’s master economic agreement. The International Paper master agreement now covers approximately 10,000 workers at box plants and paper mills nationwide. As part of the integration, International Paper committed to adding $440 million to the Temple-Inland pension fund before it is rolled into the IP fund.
  • American Eagle mechanics and maintenance employees represented by the Transport Workers Union ratified a new contract with the bankrupt airline. However, the airline’s dispatchers and coordinators represented by the same union rejected a proposed agreement with American Eagle. The mechanics and maintenance employees’ contract provides 1.5 percent salary increases each year and an enhanced profit-sharing plan. The union and the company chose not to disclose the other terms of the agreement.
  • Members of IAM employed at Raytheon Missile Systems ratified a new three-year contract with the company. The new agreement provides wage increases of 2.75 percent annually for the first two years, and 2.5 percent during the third year. The agreements also cap health insurance premium increases at 12 percent per year, and prohibit the company from raising health insurance premiums for union members at an amount higher than any rise in premiums for salaried employees.
  • Analysis of collective bargaining data compiled by BNA for all settlements through Oct. 29, 2012 shows an average first-year wage increase of 1.6 percent, up from 1.4 percent in the comparable period of 2011. The median first-year increase for settlements to date in 2012 was also 2 percent, up from 1 percent in the comparable period of 2011, and the weighted average was 2.1 percent, compared with 1.1 percent in the comparable period of 2011.