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January, 1985, Vol. 108, No. 1
Modest labor-management bargains
continue in 1984 despite the recovery
Despite an expanding economy, labor-management settlements continued to be low in 1984. Negotiators grappled with pressures to reduce or eliminate labor cost increases in the face of growing import competition, the spreading effects of domestic deregulation in transportation, and structural changes in other industries. In addition, moderate inflation and concerns over job security continued to temper union demands for large wage increases.
During the first 9 months of the year, major collective bargaining settlements (covering 1,000 workers or more) in private industry provided average wage adjustments of 2.5 percent in the first contract year and 2.8 percent annually over the life of the contract.1 This compares with 8.6 percent and 7.2 percent the last time the same parties bargained (2 to 3 years earlier, in most cases). Part of the decline in the "adjustments" (the combined net result of wage increases, decreases, and no changes) was traceable to settlements in construction, which covered 420,000 of the 1.4 million workers under settlements in private industry. In construction, settlements provided average wage adjustment of 0.9 percent in the first year and 1.2 percent annually over the contract life, compared with 3.2 and 3.5 percent, respectively, in the other industries.
This excerpt is from an article published in the January 1985 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 Preliminary statistical information for all of 1984 is scheduled to be released on January 24, 1985. Both the first 9 months and full year figures exclude possible pay adjustments under cost-of-living formulas because such adjustments are contingent on the future movement of a consumer price index.
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Collective Bargaining Agreements
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