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August 1994, Vol. 117, No. 8
Negotiated changes in State and local government contracts, 1993
Michael H. Cimini
Wage rate changes negotiated in 1993 in major collective bargaining settlements (those covering 1,000 workers of more) in State and local government were smaller, on average, than in contracts they replaced.1 This pattern has persisted for 4 consecutive years. In addition, the changes matched the record-low rates of those in 1992.
The smaller changes reflect the economic climate facing negotiators in the public sector. Most negotiators contended with decreasing tax revenues, increasing budget deficits, and, at best, slowly expanding economies. State and local government negotiators concentrated on how to keep expenditures down without reducing public services. For union negotiators, job security was the primary concern, followed by health care, then other economic items.
The majority of State and local government contracts were settled without protracted bargaining, unlike 1992 when several States negotiated long after their old contracts had expired. The 1993 negotiated contracts continued the trend toward"backloading" (that is, delaying all or most wage rate increases until after the first contract year), curbing health care costs, and contracting out some government services. Bargaining generally occurred without the threat of layoffs or furloughs, as management and labor compromised on issues and bargain realistically.
This excerpt is from an article published in the August 1994 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 For data on 1993 settlements in private industry, see "Compensation gains moderated in 1993 private industry settlements," Monthly Labor Review, May 1993, pp. 46-56.
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