For all settlements reached through July 21, 2014, Bloomberg BNA data showed average first-year wage increases of 2 percent and median increases of 2 percent, consistent with results over the same period in 2013. The weighted average was 2.6 percent, up from 1.9 percent in 2013. Fifteen percent of contracts settled in the first half of 2014 reported lump-sum payments, down 5 percent from the same time period in 2013. As of July 11, 2014, benefit changes occurred in 44 percent of settlements, 61 percent of contracts altered pension plans, 5 percent called for revised 401(k) plans, and 18 percent of reported contracts report a first-year wage freeze.
UFCW Local 293 members ratified a five-year agreement with JBS USA LLC covering 2,600 workers at its beef slaughter and processing facility in Grand Island, Neb. The agreement provides for wage increases, increased employee contributions towards health care benefits, and the provision of a low-cost health care clinic for workers and dependents. Another UFCW local ratified a five-year contract with JBS covering approximately 3,000 Colorado workers. That agreement also provides for increased wages and higher health benefits contribution for workers.
Nearly 2,500 Los Angeles International Airport baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, and cargo workers employed by eight contractors entered into a new collective bargaining agreement, which will run through October 2016. The contract provides a raises of 50 cents to $1 per hour based on seniority. The least experienced workers will earn $9.90 per hour as of July 1, 2015, and $10.15 as of January 1, 2016, while covered workers with more than five years of experience will earn $14.40 per hour, then $15 as of the respective dates. Health care coverage, sick days, and paid vacation terms remain unchanged.
A majority of 1199 SEIU United Health Care Workers East ratified a 4.5-year contract with Johns Hopkins Hospital covering more than 2,000 maintenance, technical, and service workers. The contract provides a $13 minimum wage for new workers and a $15 minimum wage for employees with more seniority; all employees receive 2 percent wage increases and a 0.5 percent bonus within 30 days of ratification. Additional wage increases are scheduled in 2015 (2 percent) and 2016 (2 percent), and 2017 (2.75 percent). The agreement maintains existing and calls for establishment of a committee dedicated to the review of pay rates for pharmacy and surgical technical workers.
After four years of negotiations, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the unions representing the majority of Long Island Railroad workers (including International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers; Transportation Communications Union; United Transportation Union; Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; Independent Railway Supervisors Association; International Association of Machinists; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; and National Conference of Firemen and Oilers-Service Employees International Union) reached a tentative agreement, averting a strike that would have shut down the country’s most traveled commuter railroad. The agreement provides for 17 percent wage increases over 6.5 years, and applies retroactively to June 2010. The agreement also includes longer wage progressions and higher pension contributions for new workers and equalizes healthcare contributions across all workers.
Macy’s Inc. made a “last, best, and final” contract offer applicable to 1,400 retail workers at three stores in San Francisco, Calif. The UFCW-represented workers rejected the offer and voted to go forward with a strike if negotiations continued to be unsuccessful. Among other things, the union disagreed with a proposal in Macy’s offer that certain workers would no longer receive commissions, but would instead receive an hourly rate determined in part by commissions earned in previous years. The union also seeks higher wages for night shifts.
The Walt Disney World reached a 5.5-year tentative agreement with the Service Trades Council, comprised of UFCW Local 1625, Unite Here Local 737, United Here Local 362, IBT Local 385, Transportation Communications Union Local 1908, and the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees Local 631. The tentative agreement covers approximately 27,000 workers and, among other things, would increase the minimum wage to $9 per hour retroactive to March 30 and provide workers with higher pay rates with 35-cent hourly wage increases. Wage negotiations are subject to reopening after 3.5 years. The tentative agreement contains no increases to employee contribution to health benefits until January 2016, and existing pension benefits are retained.
American Airlines and the IAM have entered into three new contracts covering approximately 11,000 employees at US Airways. The contracts cover fleet service, mechanic, and maintenance training specialist employees. The agreements provide for signing bonuses and general wage increases for the majority of covered workers.
The League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes of New York (representing 109 New York non-profit hospitals and medical centers) reached agreement with the SEIU on a tentative four-year contract covering approximately 70,000 non-physician workers. The agreement averted a strike set for the end of July, and provides for wage increases, union organizing at outpatient centers, and a gradual reduction of employer contributions to employee benefits.
UFCW members ratified four three-year contracts, applying retroactively to April 2014, with Tops Markets LLC. The agreements cover approximately 13,000 workers in Pennsylvania and New York. The contracts are almost identical and include annual wage increases, annual increases in employer pension contributions, and guaranteed health benefits.
Kroger Co. and UFCW Local 75 reached a tentative agreement on a four-year contract covering approximately 16,000 workers in Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio. The contract provides increased wages, healthcare, retirement security, and seniority/work schedule protection. Currently, there are two separate contracts with Kroger and UFCW Cincinnati (covering 12,000 workers) and Dayton (covering 4,000 workers). This single new agreement replaces the two existing contracts.
A Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) issued a report to President Obama regarding a contract impasse between the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainment Division 71 (BLET) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 744 (IBEW). The PEB sided with SEPTA, rejecting union demands for retroactive pay increases and other wage increases. SEPTA and the unions will resume negotiations after digesting the non-binding PEB recommendations. The basis for PEB’s recommendations included that the wage provisions should align with an agreement between SEPTA and the Transport Workers Union Local 234, which provides a 2.78 percent lower wage increase than requested by BLET and IBEW. Additionally, the PEB opined that negotiations would be more successful with a more comprehensive information exchange.