• According to a BNA summary of contract settlements reached to date in 2013, first-year wage increases have averaged 2.2 percent, compared to 1.8 percent for the same period in 2012. Median first-year settlement wage increases were two percent to date in 2013, an identical median increase for the same period in 2012. The weighted average settlement increases were one percent in 2013 compared to 2.1 percent for the 2012 period. By industry, manufacturing average settlement increases were 1.4 percent in 2013, a 0.9 percent drop from the same period in 2012. Non-manufacturing, excluding construction, saw average settlement increases of 3.4 percent, an increase of 1.2 percent from the same period in 2012. Wage increases in construction industry settlements have averaged 3.2 percent in 2013.
  • The United States Maritime Alliance, an association of port-oriented businesses, came to a tentative agreement with the International Longshoremen’s Association (“ILA”) on a six-year master contract. The agreement will cover approximately 15,000 dockworkers spread across ports on the East and Gulf coasts. The agreement is contingent on ratification by members of the Alliance and the ILA and negotiation of 14 port agreements involving local unions, including one in the mid-Atlantic region. The parties have declined to release details about the tentative agreement until all local negotiations conclude.
  • The U.S. Airline Pilots Association’s members approved a memorandum of understanding between American Airlines, US Airways, and the respective pilots’ unions at each company regarding a potential merger between American Airlines and US Airways. The memorandum of understanding will guide collective bargaining discussions between the airlines and the pilots in the pending merger.
  • Office clerical unit members of the ILWU approved a six-year labor contract with the Harbor Employers Association that covers approximately 650 full-time clerks and 250 on-call employees at ports in Long Beach and Los Angeles, California. The ratification followed a vote earlier this month where the workers rejected a tentative agreement with the same terms. The parties have been negotiating for the past three-and-one-half years. Under the new contract, workers receive unconditional job security while the employers receive flexibility over whether to staff positions with temporary workers when an employee goes on a leave of absence. The employers also retained the discretion to eliminate positions through attrition for 14 full time workers. Workers’ hourly wages are enhanced by one dollar immediately and by another dollar in July, which will raise workers’ annual pay to over $90,000. Workers also will receive a single lump-sum payment of $4,000 to account for lost pay increases over the past two-and-a-half years. Under the new contract, workers will receive employer-funded healthcare without co-payments and with office visits for only five dollars.
  • Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia members ratified a two-year labor contract covering 550 Interstate General Media employees. Interstate General Media owns the Philadelphia Daily News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Philly.com. The contract lowers wages for covered workers by 2.5 percent. In exchange, the contract guarantees no layoffs for the next year and provides that the papers will be printed daily for the contract term. The contract also permits the employer to create and institute a performance evaluation system to establish work standards and assess employee performance. Finally, the contract allows the employer to offer newsroom employees with at least 30 years of tenure voluntary separation packages. Employees may elect to receive $50,000 and no health care coverage, $40,000 and one year of coverage, $25,000 and two years of coverage, or three years of coverage and no monetary payment.
  • United Continental Holdings Inc., the parent company for United Airlines, Continental Airlines, and Continental Micronesia, reached tentative agreements with the IAM and the United Aerospace Workers unions. The agreements cover some 32,500 employees across multiple job classifications, including stock clerks, ramp service employees, and public reservations employees. If ratified, the agreements would provide additional health care choices for employees, improved job security, pension increases, 401(k) matches, signing bonuses, and retroactive wage increases. United Continental Holdings is the largest airline in the world and is the product of a 2010 merger between United, Continental, and Continental Micronesia.
  • IBT Local 1145 members approved a four-year contract with Honeywell International Inc. covering 1,050 maintenance and production employees working in four of Honeywell’s Minneapolis, Minnesota locations. The contract raises wages by 2.5 percent per year from 2014 through 2016. The contract also alters healthcare benefits in two ways: (1) in 2013, employees’ share of health insurance premiums and deductibles increase for both covered individuals and families, and (2) in 2014, the healthcare benefit will change to a high deductible plan, where individual and family deductibles will further increase. Also under the new contract, retirees’ monthly pension per year of service will increase by $2.50 in 2013, $1.50 in 2014 and 2015, and by $1.00 to a total of $68.50 in 2016. Existing employees and new workers have the option to open a 401(k) plan with a one-percent employer match. Unlike previous contracts, the new contract provides no retiree medical benefits.
  • IAM Local Lodge 1296 members approved a four-year labor contract with Trane Co. that covers approximately 950 employees in Trane’s Clarksville, Tennessee location. The new contract includes a $1,000 ratification bonus and initial compensation increases of 20 cents per hour. Additional annual compensation increases of 40 cents per hour will occur in 2014 through 2016. Also under the new contract, employees contributions toward health care premiums increase from 10 to 20 percent, capped at eight percent of each employee’s annual salary.
  • IBT members approved two three-year labor contracts with Costco Wholesale Corp. covering approximately 12,000 California-based workers and another 3,500 employees spread across Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. The contracts raise compensation by nine percent over the three-year terms. After the last wage increase under the contracts, California workers will be making $22.87 per hour and workers in East Coast stores will make $22.70 per hour, rates the union touts as 42 percent higher than employees at Sam’s Club, Costco’s main competitor. Workers at the top of the wage scale will receive bonuses ($3,750 in California and $4,000 on the East Coast) every six months.
  • Members of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (“SPEEA”) working for Boeing on Puget Sound voted whether to accept Boeing’s “best and final” offer or to reject the offer and give the union strike authorization. The engineering unit voted (6,483 to 5,514) to accept Boeing’s offer, while the technicians unit rejected the offer (3,203 to 2,868) and authorized a strike. Boeing’s final offer incorporated temporary agreements with the union on many contract terms, but rejected the union’s request a defined benefit plan (in lieu of a 401(k) plan) for new hires.
  • Following nearly a year of negotiations, AT&T Inc. and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 9 reached a tentative agreement on a three-year deal that would cover approximately 17,000 employees providing wireline services in the company’s West region, which includes California and Nevada. Employees struck for two-days in August in protest of AT&T’s alleged failure to bargain in good faith. The workers covered by the contract fix and maintain networks that handle landline and cell phone calls, service customers, sell AT&T products, and install video services. The agreement will provide similar benefits to those contained in labor contracts AT&T has recently reached with other wireline employees. In particular, the agreement increases wages by 2.25 percent retroactive to October 2012, by 2.75 percent in April of this year, and by three percent in 2014. The agreement also increases pension bands by one dollar annually from 2013 through 2015 for the defined benefit pension plan. In addition, the agreement provides enhanced severance benefits to take the place of existing early retirement benefits, and does not change AT&T’s positions on card checks and organizing.
  • AT&T Inc. also reached a tentative agreement with the CWA on a four-year labor agreement that would cover approximately 22,000 wireless employees working in retail, customer service, and network organization across 36 states. The workers covered by the agreement fall under what is known as the Mobility Orange contract. The agreement includes a $1,000 ratification bonus and raises hourly wages 9.75 percent over its term. Also under the agreement, severance payments for surplus workers will increase from $600 to $700, or one week’s earnings, depending on which is greater, for each six months of employment in the first year of a worker’s tenure, and for each additional year of tenure up to a cap of $17,000. Workers that transfer to a different market with the same job title under the agreement would be guaranteed the same compensation. In addition, AT&T commits to hiring 4,000 additional workers over the agreement’s term.
  • CWA District 6 members also approved a four-year labor agreement with AT&T Inc., covering approximately 22,000 of AT&T’s wireline workers in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. The agreement includes a $1,000 ratification bonus and raises wages another 10.5 percent over the term. Healthcare deductibles under the new contract will jump from $350 to $500 for individuals and from $700 to $1,000 for families. In addition, while coinsurance will stay at 10 percent, the ceiling for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses will increase for individuals to $1,700 for 2014. It will increase to $2,000 in 2015, and remain there through 2017. For families, the ceiling for out-of-pocket expenses will be $3,400 in 2014. It will increase to $4,000 in 2015, and remain there through 2017. Finally, the agreement provides for the addition of 2,000 jobs to the workforce and creates a transfer plan to give some employees the option to move to the AT&T Mobility segment of the company.
  • Ending a two-year lockout, workers with UNITE HERE Local 2850 approved a three-year agreement with the Castlewood County Club located in Pleasanton, California that covers approximately 75 employees. Many workers will see hourly wage increases of 30 cents in year two of the contract and 20 cents in year three. Currently, the average employee at Castlewood makes $12.52 an hour. In addition, family health insurance premiums will remain steady at $225 per month over the first two years of the contract before dropping to $150 per month in the third year. The contract also allows Castlewood to subcontract work whenever a particular project requires expertise that existing employees do not have.
  • Approximately 1,100 production and maintenance workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (“UFCW”) Local 75 approved a three-year labor contract with Campbell Food Supply Co. The employees work at Campbell’s Napoleon, Ohio facility. The new contract provides for 6.75 percent in compensation increases over the term as well as a $1,500 lump sum ratification bonus. The contract preserves the existing 90-10 ratio for employer-funding of health insurance premiums, under which Campbell’s funds 90 percent of insurance premiums and employees fund the remaining 10 percent. In addition, the contract provides for increases in the employer-match for 401(k) contributions. Employees can receive a 100 percent match on up to four percent of their contributions.
  • The Minneapolis-St. Paul Contract Cleaners Association came to a tentative agreement with SEIU Local 26 over a three-year deal covering approximately 4,000 janitorial workers. The agreement increases compensation by 50 cents per hour in year one of the agreement and by 35 cents per hour in each of the succeeding two years. The agreement also enhances healthcare benefits and reduce janitors’ share of the expenses for healthcare. Finally, the agreement provides one additional sick day per year (three days annually) and creates a review mechanism for workers that believe they are carrying an excessive workload.
  • Members of the CWA-affiliated Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) approved a five-year contract with US Airways that will cover approximately 6,800 flight attendants. The contract provides flight attendants with a $1,700 bonus and provides for $45 million in annual compensation increases. The contract also provides that the AFA and its members will be included in the collective bargaining process between US Airways and American Airlines once the merger between the two companies is complete.
  • Las Vegas taxicab company, Yellow-Check-Star Transportation, implemented terms of its last, best offer after members of the industrial Technical Professional Employees Union, representing approximately 1,700 drivers, twice voted to reject company offers. Under the terms of the new implementation, effective in 2014, drivers with less than six years of tenure will be required to work five 12-hour shifts per week. Previously, drivers who worked 12-hour shifts were only required to work four days per week. This change will affect roughly half of the drivers in the bargaining unit. The implementation does not affect wages, and drivers will continue to be paid based on a percentage of the meter plus tips. However, over 18 months, the implemented terms will increase drivers’ percentage of the meter more quickly. After 12 months, drivers’ commissions will increase from 39 percent to 41 percent. The implementation also expands the pool of performance bonuses from $310,000 to $380,000 annually. in addition, qualifying drivers will be paid bonuses ranging from $150 to $500. Leaves of absence are increased under the implementation from 30 to 35 days annually.