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Labor Relations Advisor, August 2015

September 2, 2015

Union Employees at Kellogg Co. Ratify Five-Year Deal

On August 1, 2015, Kellogg Co. and the union, Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), announced the ratification of an agreement covering about 1,300 employees represented by four locals (3G, 50G, 252G, 374G).

The agreement includes a five-year moratorium on any plant closures which would affect the covered employees who work in Lancaster, Pa., Battle Creek, Mich., Omaha, Neb., and Memphis, Tenn.

Jethro Head, Vice President of BCTGM, said the moratorium provides the members “with a sense of security and hope for the future.” In exchange, however, workers agreed to several concessionary terms including eliminating retiree health care for new hires, according to a Company statement.

Several months prior, the Company had met with the BCTGM in March and discussed its need for immediate concessions. Before that, in December 2014, BCTGM Local 3G employees failed to ratify an MOA which similarly would have provided a guarantee of no factory closures in exchange for concessions.

The ratified master agreement contains wage and pension increases, although neither party has revealed further detail.

SEC Adopts Rule Requiring Companies to Disclose CEO Pay

On August 5, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) adopted a rule requiring companies to disclose the ratio of their chief executive’s pay to the median pay of all other employees.

The rule has additional complexities and specifications for how to calculate the median pay number. Companies are allowed to exclude 5 percent of its non-U.S. employees, use either total employee population or a statistical sample and are required to only pay once every three years.

The rule was proposed in September 2013 and is set to take effect January 1, 2017.

The ratio provision is required by the Dodd-Frank Act Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed by Congress and would apply to approximately 3,500 companies.

The SEC statement and additional information can be found here.

17,000 Nurses in 12 Private Sector New York City Area Hospitals Vote Yes

Members of the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) voted in favor of a series of agreements on August 6, 2015.

The contracts are all four years in duration and provide a 12.5 percent increases over the duration. The agreements also addressed “safe staffing” which the union calls a “key issue.” 1,000 nurses were added including new FTEs (full-time equivalent employees) as well as “float pool nurses” to cover sick days.

According to the union, the nurses also won the right to engage in informational picketing for the first time.

"This is a very significant win for patients and for nurses who care for them," said Patricia Kane, a Registered Nurse at Staten Island University Hospital and Treasurer of NYSNA. "These contracts mark a significant step along the way to ensuring that communities across the five boroughs will receive the care they deserve."

IBEW Workers Reach an Agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

On August 4, 2015, the IBEW announced an agreement with the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. covering 11,000 utility workers in California.

According to Local 1245’s statement, the agreement provides a 13 percent increase over four years: 3 percent in 2016, 3.25 percent in 2017, 3.5 percent in 2018, and 3.25 percent in 2019. According to the union these are the “highest wage increases amongst utility locals in the country.”

The agreement also provides for enhancements to sick leave eligibility, vacation accrual, and other time off policies.

The votes will be counted on September 22.

For additional information about the TA is available here.