• Members of the Communication Workers of America gave the union authorization to strike if collective bargaining contracts cannot be reached with AT&T, Inc. Since the end of February, CWA and AT&T have been negotiating labor contracts scheduled to expire in April. The agreements cover 40,000 workers at AT&T Midwest, AT&T West, AT&T Northeast, and AT&T Legacy wireline operations.
  • Teamster represented employees at Republic Services Inc.’s Mobile, Alabama facility went on strike in March, when the parties appeared to be at an impasse in contract negotiations. The Teamsters also initiated a series of sympathy strikes involving hundreds workers at Republic’s Seattle, Buffalo, and Columbus facilities. The union ended the strike on March 30, when Republic agreed to meet with the IBT, and on April 1 the membership unanimously ratified a new contract providing across-the-board wage increases, including a 1 percent wage increase retroactive to April 1, 2011, 2 percent wage increases effective April 1, 2012, and 2 percent increases effective April 1, 2013. Workers also will receive a ratification bonus of some $1,500 and a reduction in health care insurance premium costs, from between 35 to 40 percent of the costs of premiums down to 25 percent.
  • Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 and 27 ratified contracts with Giant Food LLC and Safeway Inc. Local 400 represents 10,000 Giant workers and 5,000 Safeway workers in the Washington D.C. area. Local 27 represents 5,000 Giant workers and 3,000 Safeway workers in the Baltimore area. The contracts are effective for 19-month terms due to the uncertainty around the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The contracts provide for wages increases of 20 to 45 cents per hour and maintain full funding of health benefits with no increase to members’ out-of-pocket costs.
  • Members of CWA District 6 ratified a four-year labor agreement with AT&T Mobility covering 8,800 wireless workers in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. Key terms include a 9.25 percent increase in wages over term, a return of 2,000 jobs from U.S. and overseas vendors, and voluntary bridging rights to transfer jobs between the traditional wireline part of AT&T and the wireless business with full seniority and benefits.
  • United Steelworker members ratified three identical 52.5 month collective bargaining agreements with Republic Steel, N&T Railway Company, and Republic Canadian Drawn, Inc. The agreements cover 1,800 workers in Canton, Lorain, and Massillon, Ohio; Gary, Indiana; Lackawanna, New York; and Hamilton, Ontario. With the labor agreements settled, Republic Steel plans to proceed with an $87 million capital investment in a new electric arc furnace at its Lorain, Ohio facility. The agreements include, among other terms, providing employees: a $1,000 lump-sum payment within 60 days of ratification, followed by a $1,500 lump-sum payment on the first pay period after Aug. 16, 2012; a 2 percent across-the-board wage increase in 2013, followed by increases of 2.5 percent in 2014 and 2015; a layoff income fund, established in the 2007 contract to provide a weekly income to employees who are laid off, will be increased by $1 million over the term of the contract, with a total of a $3.5 million contribution by Republic; and, the company’s contribution to a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association to pay for retiree health care and death benefits will be reduced by 2 million per year.
  • Members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers ratified its first contract with Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa, California. The three year contract covers 700 technical, service, and maintenance workers. Key terms include: wage increases of 7 percent over the term, maintenance of existing clinical ladders for certain classifications and a review of clinical ladders for other classifications, a reduction of standby pay from 50 to 30 percent of base pay, a labor-management committee that will address patient safety issues and workers’ health and safety issues, and a broad management rights clause.
  • Members of the Service Employees International Union (“SEIU”) Local 1 approved a three-year labor agreement covering 7,000 janitors employed by various building services contractors employed at suburban and downtown Chicago office buildings. Wages for downtown janitors will increase 15 cents per hour and 45 cents in the second and third years of the agreement. Wages for suburban janitors will increase 10 cents per hour and 30 cents in the second and third years of the agreement.
  • Members of the Association of Flight Attendants ratified a new five-year contract with Hawaiian Airlines covering 1,350 workers. Key terms include providing annual increases in hourly rates ranging from 5 percent in the first year to 2 percent in the final year, increases in the per diem rates, and renewed bonus compensation provisions. The contract also reduces insurance premiums for flight attendants who work a low number of hours. The union agreed to reduce the minimum crew size on certain wide body aircrafts by one.
  • US Airways Group, Inc. reached a tentative agreement with unions representing different bargaining units of American Airlines employees, in an effort to facilitate a merger between the two carriers. American Airlines is in Chapter 11 and has not reached an agreement with its top three unions (Allied Pilots Association, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, and the Transportation Workers Union of America) on concessions the company is demanding.
  • Members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, a division of the Teamsters, ratified a six year agreement with freight railroads. The agreement covers 25,000 workers and expands reimbursement for expenses incurred by employees when travelling away from home, increases wages 18.6 percent over the term, provides a 1 percent lump-sum ratification payment, and includes a new system of health care deductibles and increased copayments for employees.
  • Members of the USW ratified three-year local contracts with a majority of the U.S. oil refineries covering 30,000 refinery workers. The USW national oil bargaining policy committee approved a pattern agreement in January that set the minimum standards for wages, benefits, health, safety, and working conditions. The lead company in the negotiations was Shell Oil Co. USW locals then ratified contracts that followed the pattern agreement. Under the pattern agreement, employees will receive 8.5 percent wage increases over the contract term and will continue current health insurance premiums equal to 20 percent of the total cost.
  • BNA reported that its analysis of data compiled through April 16 for major collective bargaining settlements showed an average first-year wage increase of 1.6 percent, compared with 1.5 percent in the comparable period from last year. The analysis also showed that the median first-year wage increase for settlements was 1.8 percent, compared with 1.5 percent for the comparable period last year.