First year wage increases in new collective bargaining agreements have jumped as compared to the same period last year. Through March 4, 2002, union-negotiated increases averaged 3.9 percent, versus 3.8 percent during the same period in 2001. This follows an average first year wage increase in new contracts in all of 2001 of 4.2 percent as compared to 3.8 percent during 2000. Expect unions to tout these increases in their campaign rhetoric to employees about the benefits of unionization.
More good new for unions: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2001, union membership remained at 16.3 million compared to 2000, and approximately nine percent of private industry employees were represented by unions, the same as in 2000.