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, endinga 6-week strike, the longest in the history of the bargainingrelationship.

The new contract provides for specified wage increases,retention of the automatic cost-of-living pay adjustment formula, andhigher employee costs for health insurance. Hourly pay, which reportedly averaged $13.23 under the oldcontract, was raised by average amounts of 39 cents an hour effectiveimmediately; 34 cents on the first anniversary; and 39.

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5 cents on thesecond. Under the new health care plan, employees will pay half the cost ofany premium increase, up to 6 cents per hour each year, or a maximum of18 cents per hour over the contract term. Deductibles were raised to$125 for individuals and $300 for families in the first year and to $150and $350 in the second, from $100 and $250. The deductible forprescriptions also was raised to $3, from $2. In a change in the savings plan, the limit on employee investmentwas raised to 6 percent of earnings, from 5 percent, with the utilitycompany continuing to contribute 50 cents for each $1.

Other terms ofthe contract included early retirement at unreduced pension rates at age61 (formerly 62); and a 13th paid holiday, beginning in 1986.

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