• The Teamsters rejected a tentative agreement covering United Airline’s 5,500 mechanics and related employees. The union said it will return to the bargaining table with United to seek greater improvements than what were contained in the tentative agreement.
  • Members of the Local 1199, Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers East ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y. Under the new agreement 1,800 hospital workers will forgo wage step increases though December 31, 2012. In the first pay period of March 2012, all employees (including registered nurses; licensed practical nurses; technicians; and service, maintenance, and clerical workers) will receive a bonus payment of 2 percent of their base pay. Employees will receive hourly wage increases of 1.85 percent in the second year and 2 percent in the third year of the contract. Employees will see their health insurance premium contributions go up over the term of the agreement.
  • Members of National Nurses United (NNU) ratified a three-year contract with the University of Chicago (U of C) Medical Center covering 1,200 registered nurses at the medical center. The U of C Medical Center agreed to hire 16 new patient care support nurses to provide coverage so nurses can take their meal and rest breaks without interruption. The contract also limits scheduling policies that allowed the hospital to switch nurses’ shifts between days and nights. The new terms provide for wage increases of 3 percent in 2012, 4 percent in 2013, and 3 percent in 2014, and it adds limits on employee out-of-pocket costs for health care benefits.
  • The Teamsters ratified its first national collective bargaining agreement with First Student, Inc. The national contract only deals with work rules, discipline, and grievance issues. Economic issues will continue to be negotiated on a contract-to-contract basis at the local level. The contract affects more than 20,000 school bus drivers and other workers.
  • The International Union of Electronic Workers-Communications Workers of America Local 82162 ratified a new three-year agreement with ITT Night Vision & Imaging. Under the new agreement, 1,000 production and maintenance employees will receive a 3 percent wage increase each year, for a total of 9 percent over term. The agreement also provides that ITT will pay a greater percentage of health care premiums, increase the multiplier under the defined benefit pension plan, and add personal and vacation days.
  • Members of the News Media Guild Local 31222 ratified two 33-months contracts with the Associated Press (AP) that cover 1,200 editorial and technology workers nationwide. The new agreements provide for pay raises of 4.5 percent over the term of the agreement. The current rates employees pay for health insurance will remain unchanged, and the AP will absorb any increases in costs. The new agreements freeze the defined benefit plan, and include terms restricting replacement of laid off workers with stringers or freelance workers, as well as make changes to vacation policies, jurisdiction, checkoff, dismissal pay, transfers, expenses, scheduling, holidays, leaves of absences, sick leave, and health and safety.
  • Members of the United Healthcare Workers — West, an affiliate of the SEIU, ratified a new three-year contract affecting 3,000 employees at nine Tenet Healthcare hospitals in California. Under the contract, employees will receive annual wage increases of 2 percent to 4.5 percent, depending on where they are on the wage scale. The contract also preserves full employer-paid health insurance.
  • Members of the United Mine Workers ratified a five-and-a-half year agreement with the Bituminous Coal Operators Association (BCOA). The agreement covers 3,000 employees at Consol Energy’s unionized subsidiaries, and provides for wage increases totaling $6 an hour over the term of the agreement. Health care benefits for active and retired miners will also be preserved with no cuts or increases in deductibles, co-payments, or other out-of-pocket costs for both individual and family coverage. Pension benefits will also be preserved. The union plans to ask all other major coal companies to agree to the same provisions for several thousand additional workers.
  • Members of the Communications Workers of America locals 4400 and 4401 ratified a 39-month collective bargaining agreement with Cincinnati Bell Inc. The agreement covers 1,000 employees. Under the agreement, employees will receive lump sum payments and/or wage increases amounting to 6.75 percent over the life of the agreement. The contract continues a two-tier wage and benefit structure for workers hired before or after February 1, 2008.
  • The Chicago Public Schools’ Board of Education voted to rescind a 4 percent wage increase that was promised to 40,000 school employees under separate agreements with seven different unions. The board voted unanimously not to fund the wage increase in an effort to trim $100 million from a projected $712 million shortfall heading into the upcoming school year.
  • Macy’s and Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union Local 1-S (RWDSU) announced its members ratified a five-year collective bargain agreement covering more than 4,000 workers at four Macy’s department stores in the New York City area. The new contract provides for wage increases totaling $3.05 over the contract term. Macy’s will contribute $400 to participating full-time employees’ medical spending accounts each year from 2012 through 2014, which will reduce employees’ health care contributions by about 4 percent.
  • The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) and International Union of Electronic Workers (IUE) members ratified four-year national labor contracts with General Electric Co (GE). The agreements provide an immediate lump-sum payment of $5,000 to workers in July and increase hourly wages by 2.25 percent in June 2012, by 2.5 percent in June 2013, and by 3 percent in June 2014. The agreements also require employees to contribute a higher percentage of the health care premium while expanding the defined benefit pension plan guaranteed table for current employees. The defined benefit pension plan will not be available for employees who are hired after January 1, 2012. The contracts also expand vacation, sick, and personal days as well as dental and disability insurance plans. The contracts cover about 15,200 GE employees nationwide.
  • A review of collective bargaining data complied by BNA through May 30 for all settlements show that the average first-year wage increase was 1.4 percent, compared with 1.5 percent during the same period last year. The all-settlements (excluding construction and state and local government) average increase was 1.7 percent, the median was 1.5 percent, and the weight average was 0.90 percent, compared with 1.9 percent, 2 percent, and 1.5 percent respectively from 2010. The average increase for manufacturing contracts was 2 percent, compared with 1 percent in 2010, and the median was 2 percent, the same increase as that reported a year ago. Excluding construction, the nonmanufacturing average increase was 1.6 percent, the median was 1.4 percent, compared with 2.2 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, in 2010. When lump sum payments were factored into calculations, the all-settlements average first-year wage increase to date in 2011 was 1.7 percent, compared with 1.8 reported in the comparable time period in 2010.