The average first-year wage increase based on data compiled by Bloomberg BNA through April 2014 was 1.8 percent, lower than the comparable period in 2013 which was 2 percent. Excluding construction and state and local government contracts, the all-settlements average increase was 2.1 percent, lower than the comparable period in 2013 which was 2.6 percent. When lump-sum payments were added as a factor for wage calculations, the all-settlements average first-year increase for this period in 2014 was 2 percent, lower than the 2.7 percent reported during this period one year ago. Manufacturing contracts with lump sums increased by 3.8 percent, higher than the 2.7 percent in 2013.

Although the average first-year wage increase for the first quarter of 2014 for all settlements was lower than a year ago, manufacturing and state and locate governments increased from last year by .2 percent and .1 percent respectively. However, the reported contracts to date reflect that 22 percent of those agreements call for a first-year wage freeze. Thirty-nine percent of agreements call for an increase of up to 2 percent, and 34 percent call for an increase of between 2 percent to 4 percent. The remainder of contracts call for increases of more than 4 percent. Many contracts also had benefit changes controlling health-care costs.

In Canada, major collective agreements reflected average base rate wage increases of 1.7 percent in February 2014, higher than the increases in January and matching the increase in December of 2013. The largest average growth in February was in the sector of public administration, followed by utilities, education, health, social services, and information and culture.

Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ (32BJ SEIU) in New York and the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations (RAB) reached an agreement avoiding an authorized strike. The four-year collective bargaining agreement covers 30,000 doormen, resident managers, superintendents, concierges, handypersons, and porters in more than 3,000 residential rentals, co-ops, and condos in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. The pay increases over the contract term would increase the wages of a typical doorman or porter from $44,389 to $49,402 per year.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and major studios, producers, and networks have reached a tentative three-year agreement increasing pension contributions, minimums for subscription video-on-demand programs, and minimum increases for most programs. The successful agreement contrasts with 2008, when failed negotiations resulted in WGA members striking for 100 days.

IAM District 142 ratified a five-year labor contract with Alaska Airlines which increases wages 12.3 percent over that period for about 2,800 clerical, office and passenger service employees. In addition to wages, the contract provides that workers are to be immediately notified if the carrier engages in merger discussions.

New York City Transit Authority and Transport Workers Union Local 100 have reached a tentative agreement on a retroactive five-year contract covering 34,000 employees. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo intervened to help broker the deal which provides for two annual 1 percent retroactive wage increases, in addition to 2 percent increases in each of the last three years. It also includes provisions to have employees pay a higher share of health care costs, increasing from 1.5 percent of salary to 2 percent.

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1996 ratified agreements with Kroger Co. for workers at supermarkets in the Atlanta and Savannah areas after rejecting initial proposals from the company in March. However, the health coverage for spouses of employees will still be discontinued at the end of 2014. Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

IBT announced that a five-year master bargaining agreement with UPS covering 237,000 workers has been concluded and is effective immediately. Under the new agreement, the new full-time starting wage will increase from $16.10 per hour to $18.75 per hour, and both full-time and part-time employees’ pension plans will increase.

Members of the Metal Trades Council comprised of 2,200 workers at Electric Boat, a submarine manufacturing company employing more than 12,000 individuals mainly in Connecticut and Rhode Island, approved a five-year contract that increases their annual pay at 3 percent or more. The contract also increases pensions and includes a voluntary severance package.

The bankrupt city of Detroit has reached a five-year agreement on “major aspects” of a deal with the Coalition of Detroit Unions, which represents various unions, including the 1.6 million-member American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees. The mediators who helped the parties reach a “fair and balanced” agreement applauded both sides for their professionalism and good faith effort during negotiations to reach a deal that would promote a viable relationship between them in the future. Details of the deal will be revealed after its ratification.

For the first time ever, faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) have voted to ratify a collective bargaining agreement with the university that will boost wages, benefits, and other terms for both tenured and non-tenured educators. The agreement provides that all educators will receive increased wages of 2.5 percent for the first year, and 4.75 percent for the second year. The agreement also sets the minimum compensation at $37,500, compared to $30,000 prior to the agreement.