Skip to main content

Union Wage Concessions

(PDF PDF icon)

During the past several months, the climate of U.S. industrial relations has been characterized by a willingness on the part of trade unions to make significant wage, fringe benefit, and work-rule concessions. Unions have agreed to cost-saving measures at such major employers as General Motors, International Harvester, Armour, Uniroyal, and Pan American Airlines. Early in 1982, 335,000 members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters accepted an indefinite pay freeze in negotiations with Trucking Management, Inc., and the Chicago Regional Trucking Association. While wage concessions have occurred with some regularity in the postwar period, they seem to be considerably more widespread in 1982; the recent automobile, trucking, and airline concessions eventually could affect over 1 million workers. In marked contrast to previous experience, the 1982 concessions are occurring in high-wage industries, strengthening the view that something unusual is taking place with respect to wage inflation.

During the past several months, the climate of U.S. industrial relations has been characterized by a willingness on the part of trade unions to make significant wage, fringe benefit, and work-rule concessions. Unions have agreed to cost-saving measures at such major employers as General Motors, International Harvester, Armour, Uniroyal, and Pan American Airlines. Early in 1982, 335,000 members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters accepted an indefinite pay freeze in negotiations with Trucking Management, Inc., and the Chicago Regional Trucking Association. While wage concessions have occurred with some regularity in the postwar period, they seem to be considerably more widespread in 1982; the recent automobile, trucking, and airline concessions eventually could affect over 1 million workers. In marked contrast to previous experience, the 1982 concessions are occurring in high-wage industries, strengthening the view that something unusual is taking place with respect to wage inflation.


Suggested citation: Littman, Daniel A., 1982. "Union Wage Concessions," Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Economic Commentary 06.28.1982.

Upcoming EventsSEE ALL