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January 1992, Vol. 115, No. 1
Michael H. Cimini and Susan L. Behrmann
T he bargaining calendar for private industry and State and local government was a little lighter in 1991 than it had been in recent years. In 1991, 33 percent (2.8 million) of the 8.5 million private and State and local government workers under major collective bargaining agreements (covering 1,000 workers or more) were covered by contracts that expired or reopened. The proportion was 35 percent in 1990, 36 percent in 1989, and 39 percent in 1988. In addition to contracts that were scheduled for negotiation during the year, there were carryovers from negotiations that had begun earlier and at least one critical contract that was not scheduled for renewal until 1992 but was opened early and resolved.
Despite the light bargaining, there were significant developments on the labor-management scene in 1991. Among the positive highlights were the following:
Not all news was good, however. The protracted round of national negotiations in the railroad industry was concluded, but only after a 1-day work stoppage prompted Congress to enact back-to-work legislation mandating a settlement to the dispute. Eastern Airlines was forced into liquidation, ending a nearly 3-year work stoppage by the International Association of Machinists. Two other airlines closed down, two more filed for bankruptcy protection, and yet another seemed on the verge of doing so. Negotiations between Caterpillar Tractor Co. and the Auto Workers union failed to produce a new contract, and some 2,400 employees at the two plants in Illinois walked off the job. A couple of days later, Caterpillar locked out nonstriking employees at its five other plants.
This excerpt is from an article published in the January 1992 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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