An analysis of data compiled by Bloomberg BNA through the end of May showed that the average first-year wage increase for all settlements was 1.2 percent, while the median increase was 2.0 percent. For the same period in 2013, both the median and average first-year wage increase was 2.0 percent. Excluding construction, state, and local government, the settlements averages showed an average increase of 2.2 percent and a median increase of 2.5 percent, compared with 2.5 and 2.0 percent in 2013, respectively.
When lump-sum payments were factored into the wage calculations, the all-settlements average for first-year increases was 2.2 percent and the median was 2.0 percent compared with 2.5 and 2.0 percent in 2013, respectively. Excluding construction, state and local government, the average increase was 2.8 percent and the median was 2.7 percent, compared with a 3.5 and 2.5 percent increase in 2013, respectively. Manufacturing settlements increased by an average of 4.2 percent with a median increase of 3.0 percent compared with 2.8 and 2.5 percent in 2013, respectively.
According to Labour Canada statistics, collective bargaining agreements reached in the first quarter of 2014 resulted in average wage increases of 0.7 percent, significantly less than the 1.5 average in the fourth quarter of 2013 and the 2.4 percent increase in the third quarter of 2013. On a sectoral basis, the largest average wage growth was in wholesale and retail trade, education, health and social services, and construction.
SEIU Local 32BJ ratified a four-year contract covering 30,000 apartment-building workers in New York City. Among other provisions, the agreement includes an annual wage increase of 2.71 percent, or 11.3 percent over its term, and maintains existing health care coverage and retirement benefits.
Alcoa and the United Steel Workers (Steelworkers) agreed to a new five-year contract for 6,100 employees at 10 plants in Warrick and Lafayette, Ind.; Point Comfort and Rock Springs, Texas; Davenport, Iowa; Badin, N.C.; Alcoa, Tenn.; Wenatchee, Wash.; Massena, N.Y., and Gum Springs, Ark. The contract guarantees raises of 2.5 percent for each of the first three years and 3 percent for the final two years, retains pensions and health care premium rates (except for a new out-of-pocket maximum for prescription drugs of $3,000 for individuals or $6,000 for a family), and offers new employees pensions rather than 401(k) plans. Alcoa gained flexibility in instituting layoffs, up to 35 employees at a time. If the contract is ratified by June 15, all employees accruing pension service will receive a $1,000 signing bonus. The contract carries the unanimous endorsement of all Steelworkers local presidents and is expected to receive ratification within two weeks.
United Auto Workers (UAW) Locals 5285, 5286, and 3520 ratified a four-year contract with Daimler Trucks covering roughly 4,500 auto workers in three North Carolina parts manufacturing plants. The contract introduces a voluntary employee benefit association (VEBA), a $7,000 ratification bonus, and increases wages for the first time in five years. In years one and three of the contract, workers will receive 3 percent hourly wage increases, while in years two and four, workers will receive a 3 percent lump-sum bonus. The contract also raises the night shift premium to 70 cents and introduces an attendance bonus program where employees may receive up to $450 per quarter. The VEBA, beginning January 1, 2015, will implement a modified retiree medical plan covering future retirees, current retirees (with court approval), and eligible spouses and dependents. Under the VEBA funding plan, Daimler will contribute $480 million plus $2.05 per hour worked by an eligible employee until 2049. As of the ratification date, Daimler has exhausted the recall lists for all three locals and is hiring new employees.
Voting 2,766 to 496, Teamsters members at 12 breweries operated by Anheuser-Busch Cos. LLC ratified a five-year collective bargaining agreement covering 4,500 employees. Under the agreement, the average worker’s base wage begins at $30 per hour and rises to $32.40 per hour over five years. All workers will also receive a $2,500 ratification bonus.
Members of the Writers Guild of America voted to ratify a three-year collective bargaining agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, with more than 98 percent of votes cast in favor of the pact. The agreement covers 8,200 writers and includes annual minimum compensation rate increases, increased pension contributions, and a doubling of the theatrical script publication fee.
UNITE HERE affiliate members ratified a five-year agreement with the Golden Nugget Las Vegas, covering 1,200 hotel casino employees. The terms provide that employees will continue to receive family health care coverage without paycheck deductions, as well as introducing new safety provisions for housekeepers and work-rule flexibility in distressed venues.
Members of IAM ratified a revised five-year agreement with L-3 Communications Army Fleet Support LLC in Fort Rucker, Ala., covering 2,924 helicopter maintenance, training, and service personnel. Terms of the pact include a 2 percent annual wage increase, annual increases in employer pension contributions, and slight increases in employee health care premiums over the life of the contract.
Metal Trades Council (MTC) members voted 1,306 to 277 to ratify a 65-month contract covering 2,200 workers. Under the agreement, wages will increase by 3 percent in 2014 and 2015, followed by a 3.5 percent annual increase for each of the next three years. Workers who are at least age 62 can opt to take a voluntary $25,000 severance package. Concessions by the union under the deal include the loss of pensions for first-year employees, as well as a rise in weekly health insurance premiums for all workers.
Transport Workers Union Local 100 members ratified a retroactive five-year contract settlement covering 3,400 New York City Transit Authority Workers. The contract was unanimously approved by the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority after 82 percent of the voting members approved the deal. The contract provides for an immediate 4 percent wage increase, full retroactive pay and new health care benefits. Contract talks with unions representing Long Island Rail Road Co. workers remain unresolved.
Members of the UFCW ratified a bargaining agreement covering 60,000 workers at Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons supermarket chains in Southern California. Workers had been under a series of extensions since a previous contract expired in early May. A federal mediator assisted in the negotiation discussions. Details of the new agreements are not yet disclosed.
UFCW Local 655 reached a tentative agreement with St. Louis grocery chains, covering 9,000 workers at Schnuck Markets Inc., Dierbergs stores, and Shop ‘n Save stores. The union sought to ensure continuation of workers’ employment, maintain health care benefits, maintain retirement benefits, and increase earnings. The exact terms of the contract are undisclosed.
UNITE HERE affiliates Culinary Workers Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 reached a tentative agreement with Boyd Gaming Corp., covering 725 casino hotel employees at the Fremont Hotel and Casino and Main Street Station Casino Brewery and Hotel in Las Vegas. The five-year contract was reached five days before an announced strike. Under the terms of the contract, employees will continue to receive family health care coverage without paycheck deductions. The agreement also includes new safety provisions for housekeepers and increased employer contributions to the union health and welfare benefit fund.
UNITE HERE affiliates and the El Cortez Hotel and Casino came to a tentative agreement on a five-year contract days before the Las Vegas workers were scheduled to strike. The agreement covers 212 food and beverage workers, guest room attendants, bell department workers, porters and other non-gaming employees. The contract terms, which track the provisions of contracts reached with the Golden Nugget Las Vegas, the Fremont Hotel and Casino and the Main Street Station Casino Brewery and Hotel, provide for continued health care coverage without paycheck deductions, new safety provisions and a program allowing for rule flexibility in closed and distressed venues.
United Continental Holdings Inc. reached a tentative agreement with the two unions representing dispatchers at both United Airlines and Continental Airlines. The agreement, which is to cover 330 dispatchers, remains subject to ratification. No details of the tentative agreement have been disclosed.
Members of Health Professionals and Allied Employees, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, ratified a three-year agreement with Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J., covering about 1,000 nurses. Union members voted to ratify the agreement on May 22. The agreement provides for reduced nurse-patient ratios for medical-surgical, telemetry, and oncology nurses. Nurses will receive wage increases of 2.5 percent in the first year, followed by 2 percent increases in both of the last two years, and will receive a 1 percent step increase each year. This amounts to an average wage increase of 9.87 percent over the three years, as the average hourly wage for a registered nurse is $37.50 per hour and case managers make an average of $38.50 per hour. Health care premium contribution increases will be capped at 1 percent, down from 2.5 percent in the previous agreement. Workers who self-identify as smokers will be charged $25 each pay period.
Sergio Marchionne, chairman and chief executive officer of Chrysler Group and Chairman of Fiat SpA, has stated that he wants to begin negotiations with the UAW before the expiration of their collective bargaining agreement in September 2015. Marchionne says he wants to end the two-tier wage structure that was negotiated in 2007. One approach for returning to a single wage level would be to grandfather the tier one employees who earn higher wages, then build from the two-tier structure.
A three-member presidential emergency board (PEB) selected the final contract offer from an eight union labor coalition representing 5,800 workers for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in an ongoing dispute with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). This non-binding ruling left the parties with 60 days to settle their four-year contract dispute before a planned strike on July 20. The plan is identical to one approved by a separate PEB in 2013, but rejected by the MTA. The two parties remain in conflict on several points. The PEB-approved plan calls for a 17 percent wage increase from June 2010 to June 2016, while the MTA seeks an 11 percent increase. The MTA seeks to increase contributions to its pension plan to 5.2 percent of worker pay, almost double what employees currently pay. The coalition plan calls for a certification bonus of $10 per full shift to certified conductors. Finally, the MTA calls for a 2.0 percent wage contribution to health coverage costs while the union seeks to initially increase those costs by 1 percent and then add an additional .25 percent each year until reaching 2.25 percent in 2016. Although the MTA’s offer contains identical terms to its contract with unionized subway and bus employees, the PEB found that the offer contained significantly different value for the LIRR employees.