Bloomberg BNA reports that contract settlements through April 17, 2017 showed an average first-year wage increase of 2.6 percent, compared to an average first-year wage increase of 2.7 percent during the same period in 2016. Median first-year wage increases for settlements decreased to 2.3 percent, compared to 2.5 percent in 2016, and the weighted average rose to 2.7 percent, compared to 2.5 percent during the same period in 2016. When construction and state and local government contracts were excluded, the all-settlements average fell to 2.9 percent, compared to 3.1 percent during the same period in 2016. The median increase when those sectors were excluded decreased to 2.5 percent, compared to 2.8 percent in 2016, and the weighted average fell to 2.5 percent, down from 3 percent in 2016. When lump-sum payments were included, the all-settlements average first-year wage increase declined to 2.8 percent, compared to 2.9 percent in 2016. The median increase when lump-sum payments were included was 2.5 percent, the same as in 2016, and the weighted average was 3.8 percent, compared to 2.7 percent during the same period in 2016. 

Employees at Utah copper mining operation, Rio Tinto Kennecott, ratified a five-year contract. The contract covers 1,200 workers who are represented by four unions: the USW, the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), the International Association of Machinists (IAM), and the IBEW. Under the contract, workers will be given annual wage increases between 2 to 3 percent, as well as health care coverage improvements, an updated health and safety program, and additional funding for employee benefit and retirement plans. 

Southwest Airlines Co. reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract with the Teamsters. The agreement covers about 300 stockroom workers and would provide annual pay increases totaling 27.3 percent on average over the life of the contract. The agreement also eliminates Southwest’s two-tier pay scale, and shortens the number of years of service required for an employee to reach the maximum pay rate from 21 years to 11 years. 

Tennant Healthcare Corp. nurses, represented by the National Nurses Organizing Committee, at two Texas hospitals ratified contracts that will increase their hourly wages by an average of 9 percent over the term of the agreements. According to the agreements, nurses with the least experience will receive a minimum hourly wage of $24.36 in 2019, while nurses with more than 20 years of experience will receive a minimum hourly wage of $40.78. The contracts also provide additional health and safety protections to address the nurses’ concerns relating to their exposure to infectious disease, as well their safety when faced with violent patient behavior. The agreements, which cover over 700 nurses, are retroactive to December 1, 2016, and expire on November 30, 2019. 

Teamsters-represented flight dispatchers at Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo ratified a four-year agreement that includes a 30 percent wage increase over the term of the contract and provides moving provisions to benefit workers who were affected by the company’s recent relocation of its flight dispatch operations to Cincinnati. 

AT&T and the IBEW reached a tentative five-year agreement covering nearly 5,000 members of the IBEW System Council T-3, primarily in Illinois and Northwest Indiana. Their current contract expires on June 24, 2017. AT&T also announced that it will hire an additional 1,000 workers into IBEW-represented jobs over the next five years.