“Employers are nearly always confident that they will achieve their objectives in overall bargaining.”

Unionized employers negotiating contracts in 2019 expect to pay more in wages, while getting concessions on health care, according to Bloomberg Law’s annual Employer Bargaining Objectives survey [in PDF].

The survey, which is in its third decade of publication, reveals that, thanks to wage pressures due to the economy, unionized employers realize they will need to provide more in compensation than they have in years past.

“About three-quarters of management representatives (74%) will propose first-year pay increases in the range of 2% to 3.9% That’s up from 64% in 2018, and the highest mark since 2002,” notes Bloomberg’s Daily Labor Report (DLR).

While that is good news for unionized workers, on the flip side of the coin is the fact that “if management gains concessions on health care, that money may come straight back out again, in the form of higher premiums, deductibles, or out-of-pocket maximums,” the DLR reported.

“Almost all responding employers said they were either ‘fairly confident’ or ‘very confident’ about achieving their bargaining goals this year. This is a consistent trend in the data collected in this survey: Employers are nearly always confident that they will achieve their objectives in overall bargaining.”

Given the economy is considered to be in ‘full employment‘ with 5,762,175 job openings right now, and 89% of small manufacturers not able to fill job openings, it is not surprising that unionized firms are experiencing the same pressures to raise wages in order to fill jobs as union-free firms are.

However, as non-union earnings are rising twice as fast as union earnings, the pressure on unionized firms with expensive union health plans may be more acute.

“Jobs that saw some of the largest pay increases over the past year included cashier at 4.5 percent, a pharmacy technician at 7.8 percent, restaurant manager at 4 percent, truck driver at 5.2 percent and bank teller at 4.2 percent,” according to FoxBusiness.com

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“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart 1968-2012

Cross-posted on LaborUnionReport.com.