Labor Relations Insights

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Labor Relations Advisor, August 2014

September 2, 2014

UPS and UPS Freight IAM Represented Employees Ratify New Contracts

According to the International Association of Machinists (IAM), over 4,000 IAM members of UPS and UPS Freight voted to ratify five-year agreements on August 5, 2014.

The agreements both took effect August 1, 2014 and expire July 31, 2019. The previous contracts expired July 31, 2014.

The UPS parcel agreement covers about 3,200 mechanics and maintenance employees who handle smaller ground deliveries. UPS Freight is the trucking division of UPS and the agreement covers around 800 mechanics and maintenance personnel.

The UPS parcel agreement provides increases of $0.70 in the first and second years, $0.80 in the third year and $1.00 in the fourth year.  A raise for the fifth year will be negotiated later based on economic conditions.

UPS Freight workers will see increases of $0.50 during each of the first four years. In addition, freight employees will receive four personal leave days each year as well as a one-time bonus of $250 for having a commercial driver’s license.

Employer pension contributions will increase under both agreements.  In each of the first four years, the existing contribution will increase by $0.50 for UPS parcel employees. Under the freight agreement, employees will receive a monthly pension benefit of $105 times the employee’s years of service. For example, an employee with five years of service will receive monthly pension of $525.

Regarding health care, UPS freight employees will see a 10 percent reduction in employee monthly premiums. UPS parcel employees will pay no deductible for company-sponsored medical benefits beginning in 2015.

Under the UPS parcel agreement, but not the freight agreement; employees will now be eligible to receive up to $700 per week in long-term disability benefits. Under the old contract, this amount was $500. In addition, this benefit is scheduled to increase to $800 in 2017.

Yearly allowance for the purchase of tools increased from $260 to $300 under both agreements.  

UFCW Associates in Cincinnati and Dayton Kroger Stores Ratify Single Four-year Agreement

The agreement ratified by members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) on July 29, 2014 merges the formerly separate Cincinnati and Dayton contracts into one.  According to the union announcement, combining all workers under the one contract will create “more bargaining power and more opportunity.”

The contract will provide wage increases each year, and by the end of the term, the agreement will achieve wage parity between Cincinnati and workers and Dayton workers. The agreement also continues to guarantee pension benefits under the UFCW Consolidated Pension Fund.

According to PR Newswire, the contract covers 12, 766 associates in 76 Cincinnati stores and 4,924 associates in 32 Dayton stores.

The contract took effect July 29, 2014 and will expire on June 16, 2018.

1199SEIU UHWE Members Ratify Agreement Covering over 70,000 New York Workers

United Healthcare Workers East (UHWE), an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), represents over 70,000 nurses, technicians and other non-physician medical workers at nonprofit medical facilities throughout the New York metropolitan area.

The union announced the ratification of the agreement with the multi-employer bargaining agent, the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes in New York (the “League”) on August 11, 2014.

The agreement increases wages by 3.0 percent on the October 1 effective date, 3.0, 3.5 and 3.5 percent in the following three years.

Medical benefits, which were a sticking point according to a Bloomberg BNA article, were retained. The agreement does however allow the parties to negotiate a new health care reimbursement structure during the next round of bargaining.

According to a joint TA announcement in July, the agreement will maintain National Pension Fund contributions at 11.25 percent through January 1, 2016. They will then be reduced to 10 percent.

Bruce McIver, President of the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes said, "This agreement demonstrates the strength of our commitment to work with 1199SEIU and tackles some of the most complex issues facing the health care industry today.”

NLRB Finds Citi Bike Employees Eligible for Union Representation

On August 20, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published a decision finding Citi Bike workers eligible to vote following the Transport Workers Union’s (TWU) petition for representation. Voting could begin as soon as early as September.

The employer, NYC Bike Share LLC, contended that seasonal workers (96 out of the 249 workers) and 17 supervisors should not be eligible to join a collective bargaining unit. Regarding the seasonal workers, Elbert Tellem, the acting regional director of the NLRB’s Region 2 who rendered the decision, found that “there are few, if any, differences between the relevant terms and conditions of employment of seasonal and permanent employees.” Regarding the supervisors, he found 15 of the 17 alleged supervisors were not in fact “supervisors within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act.”

In June, TWU Local 100 presented 85 cards signed by Citi Bike employees. TWU Local 100 is the largest transit union in New York State representing some 38,000 employees on NYC’s subway and bus systems.

In an announcement, the TWU stated, “the NYC Bike Share is a valuable and environmentally beneficial mass-transit alternative, and we are looking forward to supporting everyone who works for NYC Bike Share as members of TWU Local 100.”

The entire NLRB decision is available here.

Interest Arbitration Determines Contract for 1,000 Frontier Communications Corp. Workers

On August 20, 2014, Frontier Communications Corporation and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) announced the parties reached a new collective bargaining agreement through binding interest arbitration. The contract covers technicians, call center consultants and other employees in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

The parties bargained for more than 14 months before finally seeking the help of an arbitrator. According to the joint announcement, the committees were focused on balancing priority issues such as job security and competitive wages as well as “addressing intense competition in the telecommunications industry during challenging economic times.”

Matt Carroll, Business Manager/Financial Secretary, IBEW Local 89 said the new agreement “provides reasonable wage increases and continues to provide our members and their families with a good place to work and a comfortable quality of life.”

The agreement includes a guarantee that Frontier will continue to operate its Everett, Washington Contact Center and Fiber Assignment and Supporter Center until the contract expires in May 2017. According to the announcement, this guarantee “reaffirms the value Frontier places on having a 100 percent U.S.-based workforce. “

According to Bloomberg’s BNA, the contract also provides the company with more flexibly to use contracts and could thus jeopardize the job security of some employees. The parties have not provided further detail regarding specific provisions. The contract became effective August 19, 2014 with wage increase retroactive to May 26, 2013.