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Labor agreements reported for first three quarters of '92.

The American Foundrymen's Society (AFS), the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Dept. of Labor have released the results of their surveys of labor agreements negotiated during the first three quarters of 1992.

The AFS data are based on 112 foundry contracts regardless of the bargaining unit size. Results are based on the number of contracts, not the number of employees.

The BNA report covers 698 agreements in all industries where the bargaining unit size is 50 or more employees. The BNA, like AFS, computes its figures weighing each contract equally. The BLS report is based on 361 settlements involving units of 1000 or more employees in all industries.

The BLS computes its figures using the number of employees covered in each agreement so that their averages are weighted by the size of the companies reporting. The other two surveys do not do this.

One final difference among the three surveys is the fact that the BNA uses a median figure while the AFS and the BLS report mean wage adjustments.

Settlements negotiated during the third quarter of 1992 showed little change in average wage increases in the first contract year from those negotiated in the first two quarters of the year, according to all three surveys. The same thing is true concerning the three-year average wage adjustment reported in the three surveys. On both indices, the AFS survey continues to show lower wage adjustments than the other two studies.
Union Contract Settlements for the First Three Quarters of 1992
% First Year Wage Adjustment 2.0 3.4 3.0
% Contracts with COLA/ 7.1 8.0 15.7
% Contracts with No First Year Increase/ 25.9 14.2 15.0
% Contracts with First Year Wage Cut 0.0 0.9 1.0
% Contracts with Lump Sum Payment 13.4 10.0 33.0
Avg. Yearly Pay Increase in 3-yr. Contracts 2.3 3.2 3.1

The average first-year increases changed from 1.9% to 2% in the AFS survey; from 3.6% to 3.4% in the BNA study; and from 2.9% to 3% in the BLS report. AFS reported that the three-year average rose from 2% to 2.3%; the BNA dropped from 3.4% to 3.2%; and the BLS moved from 3% to 3.1%.

In the AFS survey, average wage increases in three-year agreements are virtually the same in all three years, while the other two studies report lower average wage increases in the second and third years than they do in the first year.

Fewer foundry settlements in the third quarter reported no first-year wage increase than in the first two quarters, lowering the overall percentage of agreements with no first-year adjustment from one-third at the half year to only one quarter at this point.

The other two organizations report 14-15% of settlements without a first-year adjustment. However, the BNA and BLS studies still show a few settlements with wage decreases in the first year (1%) compared to none in the foundry industry.

The use of lump-sum payments fell off a little in settlements reported by AFS, dropping from being used in 17% of settlements at midyear compared to only 13% at the three-quarter mark. This feature appeared less often in BNA survey agreements and was used by a much larger percentage of BLS settlements. Cost of living language continues to be used at a lower percentage in foundry industry settlements than in agreements reported in the other two surveys.

The actual costs of contract settlements in the metalcasting industry have not changed much at all through 1992 to date compared to the last couple of years. They are slightly lower so far this year than the last couple of years, but not significantly so. Strike activity did show up during the third quarter but, for the year, is happening in less than 5% of foundry settlements.

While this represents an all-time low for strikes in the metalcasting industry, we are fearful that with a new administration taking over in Washington, next year will see passage of a striker replacement bill that will encourage more strikes.

This subject is one of many that will be addressed at this year's AFS Labor Relations and Human Resource Conference scheduled for January 20-22 in Pompano Beach, Florida. To obtain a program and registration information, contact AFS at 800/537-4237.

Contract settlements tend to mirror business conditions. When business is good and profits are up, settlements tend to be more generous. When conditions are poor, wage and benefit improvements suffer. However, labor agreement improvements usually lag behind an upturn because management has to be convinced things really are better before they start increasing labor costs.

Therefore, we believe foundry industry agreements will continue for the next six months with settlement costs running close to the same level they have for the past couple of years. However, as noted above, if striker replacements are banned, the cost of settlements and strike activity will rise.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:foundry industry
Author:Ulbert, Charles A.
Publication:Modern Casting
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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