The Ironworkers Local Union 16 Pension Fund, which covers members in Townson, Md., voted to approve benefit cuts averaging 20 percent. Although only 144 of the 1,038 eligible voters voted in favor of the cuts, and 352 participants voted against, more than half of the participants did not return a ballot, which is counted as a favorable vote. This is the third union plan with the U.S. Treasury Department’s approval to cut benefits in 2018.
Marriott hotel workers in Chicago ratified a deal with the hotel on September 20 after a nearly two-week strike. The labor contract covers the seven Marriott properties in Chicago that were struck—the remaining 26 Marriott properties are not unionized. The details of the labor deal were not released.
Republic Airline reached a tentative five-year agreement with Teamsters Local 135, which will cover approximately 2,100 flight attendants. The proposed contract includes a signing bonus of $1,000 upon ratification, better 401(k) benefits, competitive wage rates, and other benefits. There is expected to be a ratification vote by the end of October.
In anticipation of the expiration of the parties’ current agreement on February 1, 2019, the United Steelworkers International union and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have scheduled labor contract negotiations for January 2019. The union, which represents more than 30,000 workers at approximately 220 refineries, oil terminals, pipeline companies, transportation facilities, and petrochemical plants, and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which represents the oil companies, are expected to discuss raises, worker safety, and using contractors to perform work previously assigned to union members. The union is hopeful that negotiations will be successful due to higher oil prices, stronger crack spreads, and recent tax cuts under the Trump administration.
ExpressJet Airlines, a subsidiary of SkyWest, ratified its first new contract in 14 years with the Air Line Pilots Association on behalf of nearly 1,100 pilots. The parties had been operating under a concessionary contract since 2004, and had been negotiating this agreement since 2010. The three-year contract provides that each pilot will receive a salary increase of approximately $14,000 to $15,000.
Public-sector unions’ wage increases in September 2018 averaged 2.5 percent, the highest average wage increase since January. This is likely due, in large part, to public teachers’ strikes in Washington over the past few weeks, which has resulted in increased pay. In all sectors, first-year wage increases averaged 3.2 percent, which is much higher than the 2017 average of 2.5 percent.