SEIU Local 32BJ ratified a four-year contract with the Building and Realty Institute of Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Region Inc. The contract covers 1,400 superintendents, porters, janitors, elevator operators, doormen, and handymen in 500 residential rental, condominium, and co-op apartment buildings in the New York Hudson Valley area and includes a 16 percent wage increase over four years. The contract is retroactive to October 1 and expires September 30, 2018.

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 75 ratified two five-year agreements with Kroger Co. that cover more than 3,000 workers at 26 stores in the Toledo, Ohio region. The agreement calls for annual wage increases for all workers, greater freedom in selecting a health benefit plan, and an increase in weekly healthcare premium contributions. The agreements are retroactive to March and expire in March–2019.

Members of UFCW ratified collective bargaining agreements with various supermarket chains in Minnesota, covering 3,450 employees at 37 stores. The agreements provide for annual wage increases for certain workers, and increased employer contributions to healthcare benefits but require employees enrolled in the multiemployer plan to pay healthcare premiums for the first time. Employees who work less than 24 hours per week must obtain insurance coverage through the state health insurance exchange.

Adjunct Action, an SEIU affiliate working to organize instructors at private campuses nationwide, reached a tentative agreement covering 200 part-time lecturers at Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences.

For the first time, United Steel Workers (USW) represented employees ratified a master agreement with Georgia-based paper manufacturer Rock-Tenn Co. Previously, the Company negotiated separate labor agreements with each USW local. The six-year agreement covers 6,000 workers in 61 locations at the company’s paper mills, converting facilities, and merchandising display facilities. The terms of the local agreements remain in effect until they expire, at which time the master agreement will apply. Expiration dates for the local agreements range from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2019. The master agreement will provide a consumer choice plan which will replace the PPO plans previously offered. Under the new plan, Rock-Ten will pay 90 percent of healthcare costs after a deductible is met. The agreement also includes a 13 percent general wage increase over the six years; a new hire “training rate,” equal to 90 percent of the full wage rate paid to more experienced workers, for the first three years of employment; a new tax-free health savings account with a contribution by Rock-Tenn; a 20 percent cap for employee healthcare contributions; an increase in pension multipliers by $1.50 in 2015 and 2017; and a uniform drug-and-alcohol testing policy.

Ending a four-year bargaining dispute, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division 71 (BLET) and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) settled a five-year tentative agreement covering 220 engineers. The contract calls for a $8.55 general wage increase, a 35¢ hourly wage increase retroactive to September 7, a $1,250 signing bonus effective upon ratification, and a 3 percent across-the-board wage increase April 12, 2015. The parties reached agreement three days after President Obama issued an executive order creating a second presidential emergency board (PEB).

The SAG-AFTRA national board unanimously ratified two three-year agreements with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to take effect immediately, retroactive from July 1, 2014. The agreements provide a 8.7 percent wage increase over the contract term, a new residual payment for free, on-demand viewing through a cable box, a reduction in the amount of unpaid free streaming videos, and increased contributions to pension, health, and retirement funds.

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) and Southwest Airlines have reached a four-year tentative agreement covering 6,000 passenger service and reservation agents. The agreement provides hourly base wage increases, ratification bonuses, and improved vacation leave flexibility.

IAM represented employees of Textron Aviation ratified a six-year collective bargaining agreement covering 4,100 workers at the Company’s Beechcraft and Cessna plants in Wichita, Kan. The new agreement provides workers lump sum and graduated percentage-based pay increases – raising wages by 9.5 percent overall – and performance-based bonuses. The agreement also calls for more extensive bereavement benefits, a company-funded health savings account, and a voluntary retirement plan. Textron acquired Hawker Beechcraft Corp. in March.

Save Mart Supermarkets and UFCW Locals 8 and 648 reached a tentative agreement covering 5,500 workers in California’s northern and central regions. If ratified, the agreements will provide increased wages for certain employees, ratification bonuses, a 10 percent employee discount, more bonus opportunities for store managers, improved holiday and vacation benefits, and the removal of a wage-progression freeze.

Hours before a scheduled strike, the Illinois Nurses Association reached a tentative three-year agreement with the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System covering 1,100 nurses. The new agreement provides annual wage increases between 2.25 and 3.6 percent, a longer grievance filing period following terminations, and increased vacation payouts. Also under the agreement, management may only make changes to posted schedules with mutual consent and management must maintain 90 percent of the full-time equivalent workforce.

An analysis of data compiled by Bloomberg BNA through October 27 showed that the average first-year wage increase for all settlements was 2 percent, the same increase as reported the comparable period in 2013. The median first-year wage increase for settlements reported to date in 2014 was 2 percent, the same increase as that reported in 2013, and the weighted average was 2.6 percent, compared with 1.6 percent in 2013. When lump-sum payments were factored into wage calculations, the all-settlements average first-year increase to date in 2014 was 2.3 percent, the same increase reported in 2013. Median and weighted average increases were 2.2 percent and 3 percent, respectively, compared to the 2 and 2.7 percent increases reported in 2013. The all-settlements (excluding construction and state and local government) average increase was 2.4 percent, compared with 2.5 percent in 2013; the median was 2.5 percent, an increase from 2.3 percent a year ago; and the weighted average was 2.7 percent, compared with last year’s 1.8 percent.

According to Labour Canada statistics, collective bargaining agreements reached in August resulted in average wage increases of 2.1 percent. The August average is greater than the average posted in the second quarter of 2014 and greater than the average for 2013 as a whole. On a sectoral basis, the largest average wage growth was in construction. The August figures are based on six collective bargaining agreements covering 115,170 employees.