Bloomberg BNA’s analysis for all settlements through November 11, 2013 showed that the average first-year wage increase was two percent, compared with 1.6 percent reported in the comparable period of 2012. The median first-year wage increase for settlements reported to date in 2013 was two percent, the same increase as that reported in 2012, and the weighted average was 1.6 percent, compared with 2.1 percent. When lump-sum payments were factored into wage calculations, the all-settlements average first-year increase to date in 2013 was 2.3 percent, compared with two percent reported in the comparable period of 2012. The median increase was two percent, the same as that reported in 2012, and the weighted average was 2.7 percent, compared with 2.8 percent.


The University of California (UC) reached a tentative, four-year labor contract agreement with the California Nurses Association covering more than 11,700 nurses who work in UC medical and student health facilities. The agreement calls for a four percent across-the-board salary increases each January for the next four years, plus additional step increases each July through 2017. Under the agreement, UC will continue to pay “the vast majority of health insurance premium costs” for the nurses, and nurses will participate in a slightly modified version of UC's new pension system, contributing eight percent of pay starting in January 2014 and nine percent of pay starting in July 2014 toward the UC Retirement Plan. Nurses also would continue to be eligible for retiree health benefits. In addition, the agreement includes a “no strikes” provision that would prohibit nurses from striking during the life of the contract.


United Steelworkers locals reached a tentative three-year agreement with Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. covering more than 2,300 workers at plants in Texarkana, Arkansas; Findlay, Ohio; and Clarksdale, Mississippi. Cooper is in the midst of a merger agreement with Apollo Tyres. In September 2013, an arbitrator ruled that the merger agreement between Apollo and Cooper contemplated the sale of two of their plants within the meaning of the USW-Cooper bargaining agreement. The arbitrator also ruled that Cooper violated that agreement by entering into the merger without Apollo, agreeing to recognize the USW as the bargaining representative, and agreeing on a labor contract. Subsequently in November, a Chancellor for the Delaware Chancery Court ruled that Apollo did not breach its merger agreement with Cooper, but found that Apollo must continue to employ reasonable best efforts to enter into an agreement with the USW to allow the merger to close. The new tentative agreement, between Cooper and the USW, was reached just before the start of Cooper’s trial seeking a court order to compel its purchase by Apollo. As a conditions to closing the transaction, Apollo has until December 31 to reach a new agreement with the three USW local unions.


Members of UFCW Locals 21 and 367 and IBT Local 38 ratified three-year bargaining agreements with Safeway Inc., Albertsons LLC, Fred Meyer Inc.,and Quality Food Centers in western Washington state. The jointly negotiated agreements cover about 30,000 clerks, cashiers, meat cutters and stockers at supermarkets in the Puget Sound area. The new contracts provide for a ratification bonus, wage increases in the second and third years, and also bolster pension benefits and maintain health care benefits.


The Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, Communication Workers of America Local 32035 reached a tentative agreement on a one-year contract with the Washington Post. Under the contract, covered employees – including journalists, classified sales reps, information technologists, computer programmers, accounting personnel, circulation workers, production workers, and researchers – would receive a $13 per week wage increase effective in the first pay period after contract signing. In addition to the across-the-board increase to base wages, all Class A circulation drivers would receive an additional 50 cents per hour wage increase. Further, job classifications of about 40 of the lowest paid workers would be moved to the highest minimum pay level upon ratification, and would increase their pay by a range of $50 to up to several thousand dollars per year. The contract holds on to job security provisions in the current contract that define severance benefits, return-to-work or buyout guarantees and maintain seniority considerations during layoffs. The Guild also would retain automatic payroll deductions of union dues under the tentative agreement, and some circulation truck drivers would be subject to new drug-testing guidelines.


Members of the Newspaper Guild of New York Local 31003, an affiliate of the CWA, ratified a three-year labor agreement with Standard & Poor's that will increase pay up to nine percent over the contract term and freeze its pension plan. The new contract also limits vacation leave carryover, introduces safeguards for employees during their job appraisal process, and provides employees with lump sum payments in exchange for the freeze. The lump sum payments are estimated at $8,000 for employees with at least five years of service, about $3,000 for workers with one to five years of service, and about $1,500 for workers with less than one year of service.


A 67 percent majority of IAM members rejected Boeing Company’s eight-year contract proposal. The proposed contract would have covered approximately 35,000 workers and guaranteed thousands of jobs in the Puget Sound region of Washington and Portland, Oregon, in connection with the assembly of a new class of Boeing 777 aircraft. The terms of the proposal included: freezing defined- benefit pension plan accruals for current employees and implementing a 401(k) style plan for new hires; limiting wage increases beyond cost-of-living to one percent every two years; increasing employee contributions to the cost of health-care coverage; and essentially achieving a no-strike guarantee through the contract’s eight-year term. Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner stated that Boeing will now look to locate the new assembly lines outside the state.


According to Labour Canada, major collective bargaining agreements involving 500 employees or more reached in Canada, during the third quarter of 2013, produced average base rate wage increases of 1.9 percent, greater than the 1.7 percent average in the second quarter and 0.6 percent in the first quarter. The third quarter figure was based on 22 collective agreements covering 59,580 employees, with durations averaging 33.9 months. On a sectoral basis, the top three greatest wage growth sectors in the third quarter was seen in finance and professional services (3.5 percent), followed by transportation (2.6 percent), and public administration (2.1 percent).