According to Bloomberg BNA, the average wage increase for the first year of a collective bargaining agreement was about 2% higher in the first half of 2013 than increases reported in 2012 in all sectors except manufacturing. Manufacturing showed a 0.3 percent decrease.
While a 2% raise is still a raise, it falls short of the standard 3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) that is the benchmark wage increase for non-union employees.
Most notable, though, is that 26% of contracts reported had a first year wage freeze while 36% called for increases up to 2% and 32% of contract had wage increases between 2% and 4%. What does this mean? Between 62% and 94% of union workers received raises below the standard COLA. This range is necessary since BNA lumped 2% – 4% together and the standard COLA falls in the middle at 3%.
While receiving a raise below COLA is not particularly good news, at least those workers received a raise. Manufacturing, which has traditionally been the backbone of the country in states like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Pennsylvania continues to lag and its workers continue to pay the price.
Matt Austin is a Columbus, Ohio lawyer who owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm with offices in central and northeast Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. Austin Legal’s Concierge Legal Services program is relied upon by companies to remain compliant and competitive. If you have employees, you need Concierge Legal Services. You can call Matt at (614) 285-5342 or email him at Austin@LaborEmploymentOSHA.com.