Union pay hikes and your wallet

American union workers have been pressed to the boiling point, and many are demanding companies keep up with the financial times.

Denise Rousseua is an organizational behavior expert with CMU’s Tepper School of Business. She says with the increased cost of living, prices going up, and wages not going up, money is tight for many families.

“People are squeezed,” she said.

As unions fight for, and companies approve pay hikes that are in some cases double digits, we wanted to know if consumers were going to pay more for goods and services.

Earlier this year, Delta pilots went on strike and then approved a contract with 34% hikes.

But aviation analysts say it’s unlikely the air carrier passed along the wage increase directly to the customer, although prices might rise when you also factor in higher fuel costs and high demand for flights.

UPS drivers won big at the bargaining table with full-time drivers now earning up to $170,000 in pay and benefits.

Some supply chain analysts say lower demand and the number of shipping competitors will keep prices stable.

The United Auto Workers have reached tentative agreements with Ford, Stellantis and now, General Motors, many of those workers have been off the job for six weeks. Some auto industry analysts say inventory could be low, pushing prices up, but not as high as prices we saw during the pandemic.

Despite the number of unions pressing for higher wages, a new report by banking company Goldman Sachs says those hikes would be unlikely to stoke inflation, which is up 3.7% from one year ago.

CMU’S Rousseua agrees. She says the reported union wage increases are divided over the lifetime of the contracts. She says the average union increase this year is about seven percent.

“So, the ripple effect to the community and the average consumer from having workers with contracts who are making more money is really the effect that businesses stay open. There’s more commerce to be had.”

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