US union workers find a stronger footing during contract negotiations with employers as a tight labor market allows employees flexibility and more bargaining power.
Airplane pilots, railroad employees, dock workers, and others have pushed for higher wages and better benefits, rejecting offers from companies that in some contracts seem significant.
The latest heated negotiations are taking place between parcel delivery giant United Parcel Service and the Teamsters Union. The two on Wednesday accused each other of walking away from negotiations over a new contract.
WHAT ARE TALKS UNIONS LOOKING FOR IN LARGE COMPANIES?
Fed up with stagnant wages, high health care costs, little sick time and uncertain scheduling, American union workers are seeking higher wages, better work-balance life and upgrading work because the pandemic has made many of them rethink their priorities.
Late last year, US freight railroad workers rejected a five-year contract that included a 24% wage increase, over a lack of paid sick leave. Workers were outraged after the deal was struck by Congress and President Joe Biden. The unions later reached separate agreements with sick pay.
In January, workers at the CNH Industrial factory agreed to a contract offering wage increases and higher shift premiums among other improvements.
WHY IS THE US UNION POWERFUL?
Union workers are having a moment because of declining unemployment rates and a shortage of skilled workers, prompting companies to offer better pay packages and benefits to keep employees. to leave for greener pastures.
Companies in many industries are finding employees impossible to replace, especially with the unemployment rate at a 50-year low.
Employees were motivated by a series of related events: rising company profits, a renewed respect for key workers and renewed political will in Washington for labor unions.
WHAT ARE THE UNIQUE FUTURE CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS?
The national contracts of the United Auto Workers (UAW) with Detroit automakers Stellantis, General Motors Co, and Ford Motor Co are set to expire on September 14.
Union leaders are increasing pressure on automakers for sweeping changes to current master contracts. The union wants to end the current two-tier wage system where new Detroit Three employees earn 25% less than UAW workers with five or more years on the job.
Among the US airlines, Southwest Airlines LUV.N has yet to reach an agreement with its pilots’ union. Members of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association voted in favor of authorizing a strike.
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