According to an analysis of data by Bloomberg BNA of all settlements reported through August 18, 2014, the average first-year wage increase was 2 percent, the same increase reported in the comparable period of 2013. The median first-year wage increase was 2 percent, the same increase as reported in 2013. The weighted average was 2.6 percent, compared to 1.8 percent in 2013. When construction and state and local government contracts were excluded, the all-settlements average, median, and weighted average increased to 2.4 percent, 2.5 percent, and 2.7 percent respectively, compared to 2.5 percent, 2.1 percent, and 1.8 percent in 2013. When lump-sum payments were factored into wage calculations, the all-settlements numbers to date for 2014 increased to 2.3 percent, 2.1 percent, and 3.1 percent respectively, compared to 2.4 percent, 2 percent, and 3.2 percent in 2013.
Major collective bargaining agreements reached in Canada during the second quarter of 2014 produced average base-rate wage increases of 1.5 percent, more than double the 0.7 percent average in first quarter 2014, but matching the 1.5 percent average in fourth quarter 2013. The second quarter average is slightly smaller than the 1.6 percent average for wage settlements to date in 2014 but slightly larger than the 1.4 percent average for 2013 as a whole. The second quarter figure was based on 59 collective agreements covering 201,260 employees, with durations averaging 45.1 months. The eight private sector agreements settled during the second quarter of 2014, involving 7,740 employees, produced average annual wage increases of 2.3 percent and had durations averaging 38.6 months. That compares to the 2.8 percent average in the first quarter, 2.2 percent average for 2014 to date, and 2.2 percent average for 2013 as a whole.
Members of the six union locals that make up the Service Trades Council at Walt Disney World in central Florida have voted to ratify a new 5.5-year collective bargaining agreement, covering approximately 27,000 workers. The unions comprising the council are: UNITE HERE Local 737 representing food and beverage workers, hotel housekeepers, and servers; UNITE HERE Local 362 representing custodians, vacation planners, and auto plaza workers; IBT Local 385 representing bus drivers, parking attendants, costumed characters, laundry workers, and ranch employees; Transportation Communications Union Local 1908 representing hotel concierges, watercraft operators, monorail pilots, lifeguards, valets, golf operations workers, child care workers, and front desk personnel; the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees Local 631 representing stage technicians, costumers, and cosmetologists; and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1625, which represents tipped banquet employees, florists, and merchandise employees. The agreement provides for a minimum wage increase of $1 per hour, up to $9 per hour, retroactive to March 30. Workers in higher wage grades will receive a 35-cent hourly increase retroactive to March 30, followed by increases of the same amount in 2015 and 2016. Workers in the lower wage grades will receive a 50-cent hourly pay increase annually. Minimum hourly wages will rise to $9.50 in 2015 and $10 in 2016.
Members of the IAM have ratified separate five-year contracts with United Parcel Service of North America Inc. that cover some 4,000 mechanics and maintenance workers at more than 100 UPS small package and UPS Freight business units nationwide. The IAM members at 33 local lodges voted on the two tentative agreements throughout June and July. Both contracts include general wage increases, a hike in employer pension contributions and a decrease in employees’ payments tied to health care benefits. The contracts, which cover full- and part-time workers, took effect August 1, and expire July 31, 2019.
UFCW Local 700 members in northeastern Indiana have ratified a four-year agreement with Kroger Co., that covers approximately 2,500 workers at 24 stores in and near Fort Wayne, Ind. The new agreement includes guaranteed wage increases every year for top-rated positions, and more positions will receive premium pay. Additionally, health and pension benefits for the 2,500 workers at Kroger stores in the Fort Wayne area will remain identical to those secured in 2013 in an agreement that covers 5,800 of Kroger’s employees at 61 stores in the Indianapolis area. The new contract also includes improvements to employee grievance procedures, provisions for more fair and equitable scheduling, and more options for employee vacations.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and Spirit Airlines have reached a tentative agreement on a five-year contract covering nearly 1,400 flight attendants. A previous agreement reached in late 2013 was overwhelmingly rejected by union members in February despite the backing of local union leaders. The ratification vote on the new tentative deal will take place throughout September. The union disclosed that the proposed contract includes “immediate economic improvements, as well as protection of industry-leading health care and key quality of life provisions.”
USW workers have ratified a three-year contract, ending a four-month lockout at the Indspec chemical plant in western Pennsylvania. The contract includes concessions, although details were not revealed. It was previously reported that the company wanted to cut the pay on 30 lower-grade jobs, reduce workers’ personal days, and change scheduling and health insurance terms. The union represents about 175 full-time workers at the plant some 40 miles north of Pittsburgh.
Members of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East employed at New York nonprofit hospitals and medical centers have ratified a four-year labor contract including a 13 percent wage hike over the agreement’s term. The vote was held at more than 100 facilities in the greater New York area—collectively employing some 70,000 nurses, technicians, and other non-physician medical workers. Employees will receive initial 3 percent raises, followed by wage hikes of 3 percent, 3.5 percent, and 3.5 percent in the ensuing three years, respectively. Members will also retain existing medical benefits, although the terms allow the parties to negotiate a new health care reimbursement structure for the employee benefit fund in the next contract, which would begin in 2018.
Terms of a tentative five-year agreement between the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and the IBEW Local 744 are consistent with the recommendations made by a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) in July. The PEB favored SEPTA’s position on most economic issues, including the transit agency’s rejection of union demands for retroactive pay increases. It also rejected a demand for wage increases that reflect the economic value of a pension enhancement that was included in SEPTA’s 2009 contract with its largest union and in subsequent agreements with 14 smaller labor organizations. The tentative contract fits the bargaining pattern SEPTA established in contracts with the other unions: those accords included 11.5 percent wage increases over five years and a $1,250 signing bonus.
UFCW members ratified a six-year collective bargaining agreement with Acme Markets Inc., which will cover approximately 3,000 Pennsylvania store clerks, cashiers, and stockers. The contract, which was ratified after more than two years of negotiations, calls for one lump-sum bonus equivalent to 30 cents an hour for every hour an employee worked in the previous year, and three wage increases totaling 90 cents an hour. The agreement also includes a successorship provision, whereby buyers would be bound by the terms of the agreement. Under the agreement, which incorporates a value-based health plan design, employees who select patient-centered medical homes as their primary care provider will experience little or no increase in the fees they pay for care.
CWA members ratified a four-year collective bargaining agreement with Connecticut-based Frontier Communications Corp., which will cover nearly 1,500 West Virginia technicians and call center workers represented by nine CWA locals. The contract, retroactive to August 2013, calls for wage increases of 8 percent over the term of the agreement, as well as an $800 bonus payable within 30 days of ratification. The agreement also includes a change from a 37.5-hour workweek to 40 hours, restrictions on the communications company using workers outside of West Virginia, a $150 boot allowance every two years, and preservation of the existing pension plan.
Food 4 Less/Food Co, a subsidiary of Kroger Co., reached a tentative agreement with seven UFCW locals, which, if approved, will cover more than 6,000 workers at grocery stores across California. While specific details of the tentative agreement have not been released, both parties claim the agreement includes wage increases, affordable health care, and pension protection. The tentative deal was preceded by disagreements over how employee health benefits would be funded, which led to a purportedly tense standoff and public boycott that brought workers to the edge of strike. Ratification vote meetings are scheduled for early September.
The Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) reached a tentative agreement on terms related to health care benefits, which, if approved, would cover nearly 20,000 workers at shipping lines and terminal operators at ports scattered across the West Coast. Details of the tentative agreement were not disclosed. Under the previous six-year agreement, health care coverage was provided with no employee premium contributions. While bargaining over other issues will continue, the treatment of health care benefits was a major concern for both parties. Both parties have agreed to keep the ports operational as negotiations continue.
Members of all eight unions representing workers for the Long Island Rail Road avoided a scheduled work stoppage by ratifying a tentative 6.5-year collective bargaining agreement with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which will cover approximately 5,400 workers at the nation’s largest commuter railroad. After more than four years of negotiations, mediations, and two presidential emergency boards, the tentative deal is now before the MTA board, whose vote is the last step necessary to finalize the agreement. The agreement calls for a 17 percent wage increase over the term. All employees will be required to contribute 2 percent of base pay to health care contributions, while current employees will be required to contribute 4 percent toward their pension plan for 10 years, compared to 15 years for new hires. The agreement also sets forth a seven-year wage progression scale for new hires, while retaining the five-year progression for current employees.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Connecticut-based Frontier Communications Corp. reached a three-year agreement through interest arbitration, which occurred after 14 months of arbitration. The agreement, which covers more than 1,000 workers in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, calls for reasonable wage increases, a new health care plan, and a guarantee that Frontier will continue to operate a customer service center and related support center in Washington until the expiration of the agreement in 2017. The agreement does eliminate the workers’ previous rights to two consecutive days off per week. The agreement also includes a provision allowing Frontier to use contractors for the work assignments of mechanics, outside line construction workers, and central office installation employees. However, in an effort to mitigate any adverse impact on employees whose positions were contracted out, Frontier has stated that such employees will have the ability to receive cross-training and opportunities to fill other job vacancies. Details concerning the amount of wage increases, the new health benefit plan, or the reductions in the 401(k) match are not immediately available.
UFCW members ratified a five-year collective bargaining agreement with JBS USA, which will cover approximately 1,100 workers at the Pennsylvania beef processing plant. The contract calls for wage increases of $1.80 per hour over the term of the contract. Under the agreement, employees hired on or before February 2, 2014, are to receive two bonus payments of $300 each, while employees hired after February 2, 2014, are to receive two bonuses of $100 each. The agreement also calls for the creation of a low-cost health care clinic, which will provide primary care, including medical checkups, lab work, treatment for minor illnesses, and access to low-cost prescription drugs.
Members of the ILWU ratified a four-year collective bargaining agreement with three grain handlers who operate export facilities in Oregon and Washington. The contract, which was negotiated on behalf of the grain operators by the Pacific Grain Handlers Association and facilitated by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, ended lockouts affecting nearly 700 workers. While the terms of the agreement have not been disclosed, the agreement purportedly includes work-rule concessions demanded by the association. Prior to the ratification, which was preceded by years of contentious labor disputes, the association had demanded concessions allowing fewer employees to load ships, flexibility to use elevator employees to assist in ship loading, and the ability to have personnel outside of the bargaining unit perform certain work.