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Economic Commentary

Union Wage Concessions

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.

The views authors express in Economic Commentary are theirs and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The series editor is Tasia Hane. This paper and its data are subject to revision; please visit for updates.

Suggested Citation

Littman, Daniel A. 1982. “Union Wage Concessions.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary 6/28/1982.

This work by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International