• American Eagle Airlines and the Transport Workers Union reached two tentative agreements covering 3,100 mechanics and fleet service/ramp workers. The tentative agreements cover a two-year period and would allow workers to convert sick time into vacation time and entitle workers to receive pay for unused sick days upon retirement or voluntary separation. The tentative agreements do not, however, include any enhancements to 401(k) or medical benefits.
  • Meadows Racetrack and Casino employees voted to ratify a first contract between UNITE HERE and the Casino. The three-year contract will cover nearly 350 employees and entitles workers to annual wage increases, a defined benefit pension plan, contributions to 401(k) accounts, and family health care benefits with no required employee premium contributions. The Casino opened in April 2009 and since that time more than 80 percent of the food and beverage and custodial employees chose UNITE HERE representation through the card check process.
  • Safeway Stores and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 reached an agreement covering nearly 7,000 clerks, bakery workers, and meat-cutters in Safeway’s Colorado and Wyoming stores. Under the new agreement, Safeway will transfer $12 million from the active employees’ account within the multiemployer health care trust fund into an account for current retirees. The UFCW and Safeway hope that the transfer will obviate the need for a 21 percent increase in health coverage premiums for retirees. The agreement also includes wage increases, expanded health care benefits, and offers employee’s various signing bonuses in the form of Safeway gift cards.
  • Communications Workers of America District 6 members rejected a four-year proposed contract with AT&T Advertising Solutions Southwest Region. The proposed contract covered 1,650 workers in five states and would have increased wages and expanded pension benefits for covered workers. Under the rejected contract, employees would be required, for the first time, to contribute to their health care premiums.
  • After Communications Workers of America District 3 members rejected a three-year proposed contract with AT&T Southeast Region, the parties have set forth a new tentative contract which CWA members are scheduled to vote by mail ballot on by the beginning of March. The new tentative agreement offers an 8.75 percent wage increase over term, a six percent pension benefit increase over term, and the introduction of employee contributions to their health care premiums. The new tentative agreement also includes health care premiums of $15 for single coverage and $30 for family coverage; a dramatic drop from the previously proposed coverage of $35 for single coverage and $75 for family coverage.
  • Corning, Inc. and the United Steelworkers Local 1000 ratified a new four-year contract which provides 12.5 percent wage increases over term to approximately 1,350 workers. The agreement also provides increases to pension multipliers from $40 to $45 over term, short term disability increases from $375 to $400 per week effective immediately, life insurance increases from $30,000 to $40,000 per year, and a $250 ratification bonus.
  • The Service Employees International Union is seeking contract language that would require employers to abide by “green” cleaning standards. In negotiations taking place in California and Minnesota, the SEIU is seeking to reduce janitors’ exposure to harmful chemicals by inserting green cleaning language into contracts. Employers are resisting commitment to green cleaning language partially because they argue that no clear guidance exists to assist parties in defining “green cleaning” within contracts. Although few organizations have agreed on a definition for “green cleaning,” the California Department of General Services’ best practices manual defines green products as those that are “certified to contain lower or insignificant amounts of toxic or hazardous chemicals and have reduced or minimal adverse environmental impacts.”
  • Honeywell International, Inc. and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1145 ratified a new three-year labor agreement which covers all 1,100 production and maintenance employees at Honeywell’s Minneapolis plants. The agreement provides 4.5 percent wage increases over term, but does not provide for any wage increase in the first year. Under the new agreement, employees will now contribute 20 percent toward their health insurance premiums, a 10 percent increase over the last agreement which required a 90/10 split between Honeywell and covered employees. The new agreement also requires employees to pay health insurance deductibles for the first time. The newly implemented single coverage deductible is $75 and the family coverage deductible is $180.
  • Kroger Company and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1996 members ratified contracts covering 177 Kroger stores and more than 19,580 Kroger employees located in Georgia. The new agreements contain “significant” increases in Kroger’s contribution to its employee pension fund, although company representatives declined to state the exact amount of the increase. Under the new agreements, the pension multiplier, however, decreased significantly from $52 per month for each year of service to $40 per month for each year of service. The agreements also contain improvements to areas of health care including vision, disability payments, orthodontia, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance.
  • ConAgra Foods and members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 38 ratified a new three-year contract. The contract covers approximately 750 ConAgra employees and provides wage increases averaging $1.87 an hour over the contract’s term. The new contract also establishes an additional health plan. If employees elect coverage under the new plan, they will incur less cost-sharing, but will have to pay a $350 deductible. If, however, employees stay on the current plan, they will not have to pay any deductibles, but will pay 19 percent of the premium costs in the first year, 20 percent in the second, and 21 percent in the third. A separate one-time $10,000 payment was negotiated for retirement-eligible employees who opt to retire.
  • Costco Wholesale Corp. and members of the IBT ratified a new three-year contract which covers 12,000 Costco employees at more than 40 locations throughout California. The newly ratified agreement provides for hourly wage increases of $1.50 over term, increasing the current average hourly rate of $21.25. According to a union statement, Costco employees are “the highest paid retail workers in the country.”
  • Mesa Air Group and the Association of Flight Attendants members replaced their long-term CBA when they ratified a two-year tentative agreement. The new agreement includes one percent annual pay increases for covered flight attendants and provides some work rule improvements.
  • Analysis of collective bargaining data compiled by BNA shows the average first-year wage increase through February 22, 2010 is 1.6 percent, down from 2.8 percent for the same time period in 2009; the median first-year increase for settlements is also down to 1.5 percent, from three percent in the comparable time period of 2009.
  • Major collective bargaining agreements reached in Canada during 2009 contained average wage increases of 2.4 percent according to analysis of collective bargaining data compiled by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. The average wage increase was down significantly from 3.2 percent in 2008. Additionally, private sector collective bargaining agreements in 2009 showed average wage increases of 1.8 percent, down 2.5 percent from 2008. Average wage increases were down in all but three Canadian industries: utilities; manufacturing; and entertainment and hospitality.