• United Steelworker represented employees rejected an offer from ArcelorMittal to reopen its Georgetown, SC mill in exchange for accepting a reduced work week of 32 hours and a $3.65 per hour pay cut. The mill was shut down in July due to lack of orders and resulted in the temporary layoff of 245 employees.
  • The United Steelworkers ratified contracts and reenacted tentative agreements with several major tire manufacturers. USW members ratified a four-year master contract with Goodyear Tire covering 10,300 workers at seven Goodyear plants that protects against closure at six of the company’s plants for the duration of the contract and provides for minimum staffing levels. The contract did not include an across the board wage increase but continued to include a cost of living adjustment provision. The defined benefit pension plan is improved for longer-term employees, while newer employees will receive participate in a defined contribution pension plan, with a company match. Weekly health insurance premiums were also increased. The USW also ratified a three-year master contract with BF Goodrich. Under the contract, there is no across the board wage increase, but the COLA provision will continue, providing for an increase of up to $.50/hour. As part of the agreement, BF Goodrich agrees not to close any of its plants during the term of the agreement, except in extreme circumstances. Last, the USW reached a tentative agreement with Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations that would cover 3,000 employees at six facilities. Details are being withheld pending ratification.
  • Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen representing employees ratified a five-year contract with CSX Transportation covering 5,000 locomotive engineers. Wages will increase a total of 16% over the length of the contract and performance-based bonuses are increased as well. Health and welfare benefits remain subject to the parties reaching agreement on a national contract.
  • IAM members at Mercury Maine’s - a division of Brunswick Co. - Fond du Lac, WI manufacturing facility accepted a seven-year concessionary contract covering 850 workers that was rejected earlier after the company agreed not to move jobs to a nonunion facility in Oklahoma. The terms provide for a seven-year wage freeze for incumbent employees, a 30% pay cut for new hires and laid-off union members called back to work and increases health care costs.
  • Members of two SEIU locals ratified contracts with Stanford University and its affiliated health care facilities. SEIU Local 2007 members approved a five-year contract providing for a 12.5% wage increase over the term and automatic step increases in pay. Groundskeepers, however, took a 9% pay cut over the first two years. The contract also created a jointly funded apprenticeship program facilitating lateral career moves. SEIU United Health Care Workers-West members agreed to a two-year contract with Stanford Hospital and Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital covering approximately 1,450 workers. The contract includes a 4% wage increase and medical benefits equal to non-represented employees providing no monthly premium costs. Paid bereavement leave and extended sick leave are also included.
  • Communications Workers of America ratified a three-year contract with AT&T West Region covering 22,000 core wireline workers in California, Nevada and Hawaii. The contract is similar to other agreements reached this year with AT&T and includes a 8.75% wage increase over the term, a cost-of-living adjustment in the third year and increases pension benefits 6% over the term while creating employee health care premium contributions. AT&T has now reached agreements with two of the six units covering approximately 125,000 workers with whom negotiations began early this year.
  • United Steelworker members ratified two nearly identical contracts covering 850 employees at Evraz's Rocky Mountain Steel mills near Pueblo, CO. The five-year contracts provide for modest wage increases, a $1,500 signing bonus, health care premiums fully paid by the company, increased retiree benefits under the defined pension plan and institute random drug testing.
  • The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace is recommending that its Wichita, KS members ratify a three-year contract proposed by Spirit AeroSystems. While the unit had twice rejected ratification and voted to strike, the company sweetened the offer, which includes a 3% bonus in 2010 and minimum increases of 1% in 2011 and 2012, plus any market-driven increases.
  • Teamsters members at Republic Airways ratified a contract providing for a 10% wage reduction in order to avoid jobs being outsourced and clearing the way for Republic to purchase Frontier Airlines out of bankruptcy. The pay cut was imposed by the bankruptcy judge handling Frontier’s Chapter 11 filing. The new agreement, however, provides for a 3% pay increases in 2011 and 4% in 2012.
  • The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Assoc. reached a tentative agreement on a five-year contract covering 5,900 pilots. The proposal includes 2% retroactive wage increases for 2007 and 2008, a variable profit-based raise in 2009 and 2010 and a 2% raise in 2011. The contract also provides beneficial terms regarding the pilot’s scheduling programs and increases the company’s 401(k) matching contribution. Ratification votes will be held throughout October.
  • Members of the Chicago Newspaper Guild voted against pay and benefit cuts and work rules changes proposed by the bankrupt Sun-Times Media Group, publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times, in an effort to clear the way for a prospective buyer. The company has been seeking a buyer since it filed for Chapter 11 in March 2009.
  • USW members voted to accept concessions in order to return to work at Gerdau Macsteel’s steel plant in Jackson, MI. The plant had been idle since January and had laid off over 210 USW members. The agreement provides for a moratorium on Sunday premium pay, weekly overtime computation rather than daily and allows for greater flexibility in work assignments. The changes will last until all work crews are up and running or for six months, whichever comes first.
  • The International Union of Electronic Workers-Communications Workers of America reached an agreement with General Motors that will require GM to commit $467 million to provide health care coverage to all non-UAW pre-age 65 union retirees and dependants beginning January 1, 2010. The agreement provides high-deductible health insurance, which will not be available for Medicare-eligible retirees upon reaching 65. The IUE-CWA also reached a pension agreement with GM under which GM will pay the full difference in Delphi employee pensions not covered by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which became a trustee of Delphi’s pension plans in July.
  • BNA reports that settlements reported YTD in 2009 have resulted in an average first-year wage increase of 2.5%, as compared to the average 3.7% increase at this point in 2008. Factoring in lump-sum payments, the average increase was 2.8% (4% in 2008). Removing construction and state and local government contracts results in an average increase of 2.8% (3.6% in 2008). Factoring lump-sum payments, this average increase rises to 3.3% (4.1% in 2008). Manufacturing agreements averaged a 1.8% increase (2.5% in 2008) while construction settlements increased wages 1.6% (5.2% in 2008). State and local government contracts showed an average increase of 2.3% (3.2% in 2008).
  • Major collective bargaining agreements reached in Canada during July produced average base rate wage increase of 1.6%, which is down from the average increases generated in recent months and from the 2.4% increase experienced in all of 2009. Private sector contracts saw increases of 1.8% (2.6% in 2008) largely due to agreements with Air Canada that covered a significant number of employees and included a wage freeze. Public sector agreements produced annual wages increases of 2.0% (3.5% in 2008) largely stemming from major agreements reached with the city of Toronto. The largest increases were seen in construction (3.5%), followed by information and culture (2.7%), manufacturing (2.5%), public administration (2.1%), wholesale and retail trade (1.9%) and entertainment and hospitality (1.7%).