• The Teamsters and ABF Freight System Inc reached a tentative agreement to modify its labor contract, including a 15 percent reduction in gross wages and planned wage and mileage increases, until 2013. The agreement was reached after an independent financial adviser verified that the company was losing money, which the company estimated at $10 million per month in 2010. The modification would cover 7,000 drivers and dockworkers, 1,000 of whom are on recall. Health, welfare and pension contributions would be unaffected.
  • Members of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 601 ratified a five-year contract with Diamond Walnut Growers, Inc., covering 900 workers at the company’s plant in Stockton, Calif. The contract — the second since the IBT ended a 14-year strike in 2005 — includes an annual 2.15 percent wage increase each year for full-time employees and a 2.5 percent increase for seasonal employees. It also caps increases on worker contributions to health insurances premiums and converts the company’s defined-benefit plan to a 401(K) plan.
  • Mechanics, inspectors, cleaners, and other service employees of Hawaiian Airlines ratified a four-year contract with the International Association of Machinists. The agreement, which covers 600 workers, includes an immediate 5 percent wage hike, 3 percent wage increases in the second and third years, and a 4 percent increase in the fourth year. In addition, other wages and benefits that had been cut during the airline’s bankruptcy in 2005 will be restored.
  • Members of Workers United Local 168C ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with Hugo Boss AG, under which the men’s clothing manufacturing plant will remain open for at least three years. The agreement calls for full-time employment for fewer than all the plant’s current 375 employees in exchange for defined benefits, paid holidays, and a piece work system paying $10 or more per hour. The agreement was reached after Hugo Boss announced in late 2009 that it would close the plant, near Cleveland. The union, affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, filed unfair labor practice charges in January 2010, and the National Labor Relations Board told the parties in March that it had found merit in the union’s allegations and would issue a complaint against Hugo Boss. The parties then went back to the bargaining table and reached an agreement.
  • Members of Utility Workers Local 269 ratified a three-year contract with Covanta SEMASS, a Massachusetts-based energy company, that provides approximately $17,000 in bonus and wage increases to each of the 140 workers withheld during an earlier round of negotiations. An NLRB administrative law judge had ruled that SEMASS and its parent, Covanta Holding Corp., had violated the National Labor Relations Act by withholding the bonuses and wage increases because the workers voted for union representation. The contract also provides for a 3 percent wage increase for 2009, an 8.1 percent bonus based on 2008 wages and overtime, a 4.85 percent bonus based on 2009 wages and overtime, and 2.7-2.8 percent wage increases for each year between 2010 and 2013.
  • Amtrak and four of its unions representing approximately 40 percent of Amtrak’s unionized work force reached identical labor contracts covering about 6,900 electricians, machinists, carmen, coach cleaners, clerks, and telegraphers. The four unions are the Transportation Communications Union; the Joint Council of Carmen, Coach Cleaners, and Helpers, which includes the Transport Workers Union and TCU; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; and the International Association of Machinists. Details of the five-year contracts are being withheld pending ratification.
  • Members of the Illinois Nurses Association ratified a four-year contract with the University of Chicago Medical Center, covering approximately 1,300 registered nurses. The contract increases wages 13 percent over the term, adds a new wage progression step in the second year, and increases employee health insurance contributions 10 percent per year. Separately, the nurses will vote this month on whether to continue representation by the INA or switch to the National Nurses United as their bargaining representative.
  • Members of the Service Employees International Union ratified a three-year contract with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The contract provides 1,600 licensed vocational nurses, certified nurse assistants, and other caregivers a $1.40 wage increase per hour over term, as well as 2 percent merit increases in each of the three years. Language barring subcontracting and maintaining employer-sponsored health insurance was also maintained. Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 voted overwhelmingly to ratify a three-year contract with JBS Swift packinghouse in Greeley, Colo., covering about 2,300 workers. The contract includes wage increases of 40 cents per hour retroactive to November 2009, and 30 cents per hour each year in the remaining three years. It also lowers health care premiums for workers with fewer than four dependents.
  • Communications Workers of America and AT&T Mobility reached tentative agreement on a four-year contract covering 10,000 workers in the Southeast. If ratified the contract would increase wages 10 percent over term and result in numerous work rule changes, such as adding three new job titles and increasing on-call pay and maximum allowable severance pay. Health care coverage is addressed in a separate agreement, and was not part of the negotiations.
  • Members of the United Auto Workers ratified a three-year contract with Daimler Trucks North America LLC covering 1,640 workers at three Freightliner truck and parts manufacturing plants in North Carolina. The agreements freeze wages over term, impose employee health premium contributions for the first time, and guarantee increased production at the plants. Since 2007 thousands of workers at the U.S. plants have been laid off as demand for the medium- and heavy-weight trucks they produce slumped and Daimler has shifted production to Mexico.
  • Pinnacle Airlines and the United Steelworkers reached tentative agreement on a five-year contract that includes annual wage increases for 950 ramp workers, baggage handlers, and gate agents. Specific details are being withheld pending completion of the ratification vote. Pinnacle operates regional flights for Delta Air Lines as Delta Connection, with major hubs in Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Memphis.
  • First-year wage increases for contracts negotiated in the first quarter of 2010 were 1.6 percent on average, down from 2.9 percent for the first quarter of 2009. The average second-year increase was 1.9 percent, compared with 2.9 percent in first-quarter 2009, and the third-year average increase was 2.3 percent compared with 2.8 percent. Overall 33 percent of contracts reported to date in 2010 called for wage increases between 2-4 percent, 33 percent call for a wage freeze, 25 percent called for increases of less than 2 percent, and 8 percent called for wage increases of more than 4 percent.
  • Major collective bargaining agreements in Canada reached an average base-rate wage increase of 4.3 percent in February, up sharply from the 2.6 percent average in January and 1.8 percent average in December 2009. The increase was due in large part to settlements in the Alberta education sector. Overall public sector agreements reached in February produced an average wage increase of 4.8 percent. Private sector agreements reached in February produced an average wage increase of 1.1 percent, down from 2.1 percent in January and 1.8 percent for 2009 as a whole.