According to Bloomberg BNA, contract settlements through January 23, 2017 showed an average first-year wage increase of 2.8 percent, identical to the average first-year wage increase during the same period in 2016. The median first-year wage increase for settlements thus far in 2017 was 2.3 percent, compared with 2.5 percent in 2016, and the weighted average fell to 2.3 percent from 3.6 percent reported to date last year. Excluding construction and state and local government contracts, the average increase in settlements was 3.3 percent, in contrast to 3.5 percent reported in 2016. The median increase when these sectors were excluded remained at 3 percent, and the weighted average dropped to 2.4 percent from 3.9 percent in 2016. Manufacturing agreements showed an average of 2 percent, compared to 1.5 percent in 2016, and a median increase of 2.5 percent compared to 1.2 percent in 2016. Excluding lump-sum payments, the all-settlements average first year increase was 2.9 percent, the same as in 2016. The median increase was 2.5 percent, which was also the same as in 2016, and the weighted average fell to 2.3 percent from 3.7 percent in 2016.

Members of the Directors Guild of America overwhelmingly ratified a three-year collective bargaining agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers covering more than 16,000 workers. The agreement provides for significant increases in wages, employer contributions to the pension plan, and subscription video on demand residuals. The agreement also addresses worker safety, improvements in creative rights, and the lack of opportunities for TV directors.

Members of Iron Workers Local 17 in Cleveland approved cuts to their pension benefits in order to prevent their pension plan from going insolvent. While less than half of the 2,000 plan participants voted, two-thirds of the ballots were in favor of the cuts. Furthermore, employees who failed to vote were deemed to support the pension reductions. The vote marks the first time that a multiemployer pension fund has conducted a vote to cut pensions and the first time a pension fund has been allowed to reduce benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act.

UNITE-HERE service, clerical, technical, and maintenance workers overwhelmingly ratified a five-year contract with Yale University. The contract, which will expire in January 2022, covers nearly 1,400 service and maintenance workers in Local 35 and 3,600 clerical and technical workers in Local 34. The new contract establishes an annual wage increase of 2.5 percent and amends health care plans to slow the rate of growth of Yale’s expenses. It also provides retirement incentives to workers at least 62 years old with at least 25 years of service and lowers starting rates for new workers. With regard to Local 34 members, the agreement also clarifies the boundaries between jobs at the university and those of Yale-New Haven Hospital staff, and establishes enhancements to job security for clinical workers.

Teamsters members reached tentative agreement for the third time on a national labor contract covering about 6,000 workers in the car hauling industry. IBT members previously rejected two contract proposals from the National Automobile Transporters Labor Division (NATLD), a multiemployer collective bargaining association. The NATLD represents three companies that employ drivers to transport new vehicles to dealerships in its Central-Southern region: Jack Cooper Transport Co. Inc., Kansas City, Mo.; Cassens Transport Co., Edwardsville, Ill., and Active Truck Transport, Pleasant Prairie, Wis. Contract details were not released, but reportedly a key sticking point that had led IBT members to reject an earlier tentative agreement concerned a new method of calculating wages.

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1189-represented workers ratified a three-year collective bargaining agreement with Vireo Health of Minnesota, which sells medical marijuana. The agreement, which covers 11 workers in Minnesota, includes starting hourly wages that range from $16.65 for custodians, laborers, security officers, and receptionists to $31.50 for lead cultivators and packagers. The contract also includes employer-paid time off, paid leave on eight holidays, and tuition reimbursement. Additionally, Vireo Health will make contributions to Local 1189 and the St. Paul Food Employers Health Care Plan. Employees covered by the agreement will be required to begin paying $2 to $5 per week toward their health care benefits in April 2018.

IUE-represented workers in Louisville, Ky. ratified a three-and-a-half-year contract with General Electric Appliances. The agreement covers some 4,000 manufacturing workers and marks GE’s first labor contract since Qingdao Haier Co. of China acquired the company in 2016. The contract includes: varying wage increases in 2018 and 2019, depending on date of hire; a $2,500 ratification bonus for each worker in the bargaining unit; a $20,000 “voluntary separation incentive” offer, extended to 450 employees hired before certain dates; hourly wage increases of 30 cents in 2018 and 2019 for workers hired before October 1, 2005; a $1,500 “accelerated cash payment” in January 2018 and January 2019 for employees hired after October 1, 2015; and a new entry-level wage rate of $12 per hour.

AT&T Inc. and the CWA reached a tentative two-year contract covering 500 DirecTV technical support workers in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, and Tennessee. If the contract is ratified, covered workers will receive regular wage increases, a one-time lump sum payment, job security protections, and new retirement benefits.