An analysis of data compiled by Bloomberg BNA through November 24 showed that the average first-year wage increase for all settlements was 2.1 percent, the same reported from the comparable period in 2013. The median first-year wage increase for settlements reported to date in 2014 was 2 percent, the same increase as that reported in 2013, and the weighted average was 2.6 percent, compared with 1.9 percent in 2013. The all- settlements (excluding construction and state and local government) average increase was 2.4 percent, compared with 2.7 percent in 2013; the median was 2.5 percent, an increase from 2.3 percent a year ago; and the weighted average was 2.6 percent, compared with last year’s 2.1 percent. When lump-sum payments were factored into wage calculations, the all-settlements average first-year increase to date in 2014 was 2.4 percent, the same increase reported a year ago. Median and weighted average increases were 2.1 percent and 2.9 percent respectively, compared to the 2 percent and 3 percent increases from 2013.
Bloomberg BNA analyzed 1,469 settlements providing for deferred payment increases in 2015 under contracts negotiated in earlier years. The all-settlements average wage increase payable in 2015 is 2.3 percent, an increase from the 2.2 percent reported for 2014. The median increase for 2015 is 2.2 percent, the same negotiated in earlier years for 2014, and the weighted average in 2.6 percent in 2015, compared with 2.3 percent this year. The highest average increase deferred to 2015 by employment sector is in the airline industry at 3.5 percent, then transit with 3 percent. Benefit revisions scheduled to occur in 2015 were found in 152 analyzed settlements, with changes occurring most frequently in insurance plans and pension plans. 70 percent of 124 contract reports itemizing changes to health and welfare plans for 2015 have measures to control for health care costs. Preliminary findings on all-settlement pay increases for 2016 under 728 contracts shows a 2.4 percent average wage increase, 2.3 percent median gain, and 3.8 percent average weighted increase. Benefit revisions in 2016 will occur most often in insurance plans and pension plans. Looking at 66 settlement reports itemizing insurance data, 92 percent have measures to control health care costs.
Members of Air Canada’s Pilots Association (ACPA) ratified a 10-year CBA covering 3,000 Air Canada pilots. The contract guarantees the airline labor peace in exchange for wage increases totaling 20 percent over the agreement’s term, along with a signing bonus, and profit incentives for senior management. The pilots will receive 2 percent annual pay raises and increases in pension benefits. The CBA also sets performance targets that if met, require the union to give up its right to strike under the Canada Labour Code. Air Canada and its pilots have not settled a new CBA without resorting to work stoppage or arbitration since 1996.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) ratified two four-year agreements with Smith’s Food & Drug Centers, Inc. that increase wages and maintain health care and retirement benefits for 2,200 workers at 25 grocery stores in New Mexico. The union agreed to a merger of the New Mexico and Arizona UFCW health funds after Smith’s agreed to add $5 million to the fund. Under the agreements, workers will receive wage increases and additional paid time off for holidays, and courtesy clerks will be eligible for health insurance. The union also agreed to drop an unfair labor practice complaint as part of the settlement.
In Arizona, UFCW members ratified a two-year CBA with Kroger (parent company of Fry’s Food Stores and Smith’s Food and Drug), covering 14,500 workers at 120 locations, and a two-year CBA with Safeway covering 8,500 workers at 113 stores. The contracts call for employees who have reached the top of their wage- progression scales to receive hourly wage increases of 25 cents for five consecutive years and includes seniority language to protect full-time employees. The contracts make no changes to existing employee bonuses, health care or pension benefits.
UFCW members also ratified a three-year contract with Kroger for 4,000 workers in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia. The contract somewhat maintained health care benefits without forcing employees into inferior plans offered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Employees will begin to pay more for health care in 2016 and 2017. The contract also imposes a slight increase in the number of hours part-time employees must work to maintain benefits. In addition to general wage increases, the agreement contains other wage perks for pharmacy technicians based on four different levels of training and wage premiums for working at night, as well as improvements in Sunday and holiday pay benefits.
UFCW members overwhelmingly ratified a three-year contact with Shopper Grocery for 2,500 workers in the Washington, D.C. area. Union representatives claimed the CBA increases workers’ wages by up to 90 cents per hour during the three-year term of the contract and maintains health care and pension benefits, despite increased costs for employers brought about by the ACA.
Accuride Corporation, a vehicle industry supplier, announced reaching a four-year CBA with the UAW, representing 291 hourly employees at their Rockford, Ill. facility. This follows other recently negotiated agreements at facilities in London, Ontario with the Canadian Auto Workers; Brillion, Wisconsin with the U.S. Steelworkers; and Erie, Pennsylvania with the UAW.