Utility workers end strike at Detroit Edison Essay

Members of the Utility Workers union employed by Detroit Edison Co.
approved a 3-year contract after rejecting two earlier proposals, ending
a 6-week strike, the longest in the history of the bargaining
relationship. The new contract provides for specified wage increases,
retention of the automatic cost-of-living pay adjustment formula, and
higher employee costs for health insurance.

Hourly pay, which reportedly averaged $13.23 under the old
contract, was raised by average amounts of 39 cents an hour effective
immediately; 34 cents on the first anniversary; and 39.5 cents on the

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Under the new health care plan, employees will pay half the cost of
any premium increase, up to 6 cents per hour each year, or a maximum of
18 cents per hour over the contract term. Deductibles were raised to
$125 for individuals and $300 for families in the first year and to $150
and $350 in the second, from $100 and $250. The deductible for
prescriptions also was raised to $3, from $2.

In a change in the savings plan, the limit on employee investment
was raised to 6 percent of earnings, from 5 percent, with the utility
company continuing to contribute 50 cents for each $1. Other terms of
the contract included early retirement at unreduced pension rates at age
61 (formerly 62); and a 13th paid holiday, beginning in 1986.


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