• Bloomberg BNA’s analysis of contract settlement data compiled through April 15, 2013, reflected an average first-year wage increase of 2 percent, or .4 percent higher than the same period in 2012. The median first-year wage increase for settlements was 2 percent, compared with 1.8 percent in 2012, while the weighted average was 1.6 percent, compared with 2.8 percent the previous year.
  • Members of the International Association of Machinists (“IAM”) District Lodge 141 voted to reject a three-year collective bargaining agreement proposal from United Continental Holdings, Inc., the airline holding company for Continental, United, and Continental Micronesia. The proposed agreement would cover some 30,000 fleet service, passenger service, and “stores and stocks” employees for the airline group. The vote, which the IAM District 141 President Rich Delaney characterized as an “emphatic rejection,” occurred in spite of a unanimous endorsement by IAM’s negotiating committee. Federal mediators have been called to assist in further negotiations, with the purpose of finalizing a deal that would align the collective bargaining agreements of the three airlines in the group following the merger of United and Continental three years ago.
  • After nearly a year of negotiations, members of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers Union ratified a 39-month contract that progressively increases wages by an average of 3.4 percent each year. The first increase was retroactively applied to the July 2012 expiration of the previous contract. Covering some 4,600 clerical and technical workers at Harvard University, the contract also provides for a certain number of personal days for the employees, which can be taken or cashed out at the employee’s election for 75 percent of the employee’s daily pay. Following the settlement, the parties will continue negotiations over the union’s desire for a wellness program and the proposed inclusion of certain groups of exempt workers in the bargaining unit.
  • Communications Workers of America (“CWA”) members, employed across 36 states and the District of Columbia, ratified a collective bargaining agreement with Mobility Orange that will span four years and cover 22,000 employees in customer service, retail stores and network organization positions. The agreement will also add 4,000 new positions and give current employees a cumulative 9.75 percent wage increase (including a retroactive 2 percent raise back to February 2013) and $1000 ratification bonus over the term. Although the agreement does not affect pension and retirement plans, it increases severance pay, upgrades certain jobs, and stabilizes pay for transferred workers. Some work rules were also changed, including a guarantee that employees will be coached before being disciplined, clarifications on absence policies, and the elimination of the requirement that employees exhaust their contractual leave before taking a leave of absence.
  • United Food and Commercial Workers (“UFCW”) members at 26 Toledo, Ohio area Kroger stores ratified a one-year contract covering wages and health care. The contract covers more than 3,000 retail supermarket employees. Under the agreement, top-tier employees are eligible for annual, lump-sum bonuses, a new wage scale and raises, and new transfer rights between grocery and meat contracts.
  • The SAG-AFTRA performing talent union and the Association of National Advertisers reached a tentative agreement on terms for successor agreements applicable to work performed on television and radio commercials. The agreement, covering some 165,000 workers, must still be approved by the SAG-AFTRA National Board of Directors and ratified by the union membership. The details of the package have not been disclosed.
  • The International Longshoremen’s Association (“ILA”) members at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports approved a new six-year master contract covering some 14,500 workers. More than 88 percent of the 8,000 members who voted ratified the agreement. Member companies of the U.S. Maritime Alliance also voted to ratify the contract, finalizing approval of the deal. Port of New York and New Jersey ILA represented workers also voted overwhelmingly to approve a separate local contract with the New York Shipping Association, which covers some 3,250 workers at the largest port on the East Coast. Additionally, 10 out of 13 other East Coast and Gulf Coast ports ratified separate local agreements, leaving just Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Hampton Roads left to complete negotiations.
  • CWA affiliate Newspaper Guild of New York Local 31003 members ratified a three-year collective bargaining agreement with the Consumers Union. The new agreement, which covers 340 employees at Consumer Reports magazine, replaces the traditional pension plan with a new adjustable pension plan as an alternative to the defined benefit plan. The new contract also affords workers a combination of wage increases and lump sum payments totaling about 6 percent during the term, and changes the health care plan to give workers the option for a lower-cost, lower-benefit plan design, while leaving employee contributions at 10 percent. Finally, the new deal reinstates severance pay for all employees who are laid off without cause.
  • After four failed ratification votes, Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers covered employees voted to accept American Crystal Sugar Company’s long-standing contract proposal by a slim majority. The new contract gives workers a 4 percent wage increase this year, a 3 percent increase in the second year, and 2 percent increases until the contract expires in 2017. The deal also expands sick leave rights for workers, institutes a new drug-testing policy, and new attendance policy. The contract also provides that company management retain the authority to determine appropriate holiday-time staffing levels. The contract settlement ends a 20-month lockout, which began when approximately 1,300 workers walked off the job in August 2011. The company estimates about half of those workers will now be recalled to work.
  • Members of the United Transportation Union ratified a five-year agreement with Amtrak. The agreement, which covers about 2,300 workers, consists of three separate tentative deals covering conductors and assistant conductors, dining car stewards, and yardmasters. The deal includes wage increases of 14 percent from 2010 through 2015, and raises maximum employee benefit contributions to $230, all of which follows a wage pattern Amtrak has established with other unions in recent years. The contract also outlines the manner in which bonuses will be paid to conductors if they meet stipulated eligibility requirements. The agreement still leaves Amtrak employees covered by the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees without contracts.
  • Members of UNITE HERE Locals 1 and 450 ratified a five-year collective bargaining agreement with four Hilton hotels in the Chicago area. The new contracts, which cover about 600 housekeepers, dishwashers, cooks, bell staff, and food and beverage servers, increase compensation annually and strengthen job security. In particular, compensation packages for housekeepers who earn $16.40 an hour will increase by $4.81 over the five-year term of the deal. Further, individual health care coverage continues unchanged, while the workers’ wages and benefits are now protected if the property is sold.
  • The United Parcel Service Inc. and UPS Freight reached tentative five-year agreements with the IBT that cover some 250,000 employees on separate national contracts. Collectively, the contracts comprise the largest collective bargaining agreement in North America. They will move some 140,000 employees currently in the UPS health care plan into the Teamster’s Central States health care fund. The deal also resolves existing subcontracting issues, lowers employee co-payments for health insurance, and allows more UPS Freight workers to becoming full-time employees. In addition, UPS committed to creating at least 2,000 new full-time positions from existing part-time positions. Meanwhile, over the term of the deal, hourly wages for workers will increase by $4 an hour.