Bloomberg BNA data shows that the average first-year wage increase was 2.8 percent in 2016 contracts, up slightly from the comparable period in 2015, which reported a 2.6 percent wage increase. The median first-year wage increase for settlements was also slightly higher at 2.5 percent, as compared to 2.3 percent in 2015.
Transport Workers Union Local 556, which represents 14,500 Southwest Airlines Co. flight attendants, ratified a new contract providing for a 12.5 percent raise over two years and a 15.9 percent ratification bonus.
After four months of contract negotiations, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) ratified a three-year contract that will cover approximately 1,200 AT&T wire line workers in 16 states. The contract will increase workers’ wages, while maintaining health insurance benefits and improving job security, scheduling, and other working conditions.
Ford Motor Co. and members of Unifor, a Canadian union, reached a tentative agreement that includes investment to help ensure the future of an engine plant in Windsor, Ontario. The agreement provides that Ford will invest approximately $522 million over four years.
After almost two years of strike threats, Chicago Teachers Union Local 1 members accepted a four-year contract with Chicago Public Schools. Although the terms of the agreement provide teachers with a lesser wage package than previous years, teachers will maintain the “pension pick-up” provision, which requires employees to contribute 9 percent of salary for pension benefits. The agreement also creates incentives for senior educators to retire beginning in 2017.
Shop ‘n Save grocery store workers in St. Louis overwhelmingly voted in favor of a three-year deal covering about 1,900 workers, which will increase wages, maintain pension benefits, and ensure that workers retain health-care coverage (although it does not control increased co-payments or deductibles).
Following AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV, former DirecTV employees ratified three collective bargaining agreements, bringing more than 2,000 employees into AT&T’s existing collective bargaining agreements with the CWA. As of December 25, 2016, workers will receive regular wage increases and health care, disability, and pension benefits.
After more than four years of negotiations, Southwest Airlines Co. pilots approved a new contract that will increase wages nearly 30 percent over the agreement’s four-year term. The pilots’ retirement plans will switch from a 401(k) with partial matching, to a defined contribution plan in which Southwest will automatically invest 13.4 of a pilot’s salary next year, with higher increases in each of the remaining two years.
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 99 members ratified a four-year contract covering 20,000 supermarket employees working at 122 Fry’s, Safeway, and Smith’s stores in Arizona. The agreement reportedly includes wage increases, health and welfare contributions that would strengthen the union’s health fund, improved workplace protections, and also reduces the wage gap between veterans and new hires. The Safeway stores are owned by Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos., and the Smith’s and Fry’s stores are operated by Kroger, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
UFCW-represented employees at Giant Food and Safeway Inc. supermarket chains ratified new three-year contracts. These contracts, covering approximately 29,000 food clerks, pharmacy technicians, cashiers, meat cutters, and courtesy clerks in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., will include large wage bumps for some, due to increased starting wage rates. Reportedly, employees will experience no increases in their costs for health insurance benefits, and wage progression scales will continue to be based on length of service, rather than hours worked.
Approximately 700 SEIU-represented janitors at Harvard University voted to ratify a new four-year contract. The agreement includes a 12.5 percent wage increase, which will result in a median hourly wage of $24.67 when the agreement expires in 2020.
Transport Workers Union Local 234 voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new five-year agreement with Philadelphia’s transit authority. The tentative agreement ended a six-day strike that started in the early morning of November 1, 2016 and resulted in the majority of the city’s local mass transit being shut down, impacting hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania residents and threatening voter turnout on Election Day. The agreement improves pension payouts for long-time employees, and includes a wage increase of 10.5 percent over five years.
Amerijet and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT or Teamsters) reached a tentative four-year agreement covering some 85 Teamster-represented pilots. The agreement provides captains and first officers with an increase in base wages of 55 to 75 percent, yearly wage increases, and enhancements to seniority and sick leave policies.
After a nearly two-month strike, 99 orchestra members and two librarians of the American Federation of Musicians ratified a five-year agreement with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The agreement provides for a wage cut of 7.5 percent in the first year. However, wages will remain the same in the second year, and members will receive raises of 3.3 percent and 2 percent in the third and fourth years, such that wages are restored to 2016 levels by the fifth year. The agreement also provides that members will move from a defined benefit pension plan to a defined contribution plan