During fiscal year 1996, the Public Employment Relations Board initiated a major research project aimed at gathering and analyzing information contained in public sector labor agreements. The Contract Analysis Program, or “CAP,” incorporates two unique features that set it apart from other labor agreement profiles. First, inquiry is made regarding all collective bargaining agreements between public employers and employee organizations covered by the Taylor Law, making this the only known comprehensive study of its kind. Second, the information relied on by PERB requires the parties’ bilateral acknowledgment of the data. A questionnaire was developed to solicit data concerning health insurance costs and premium payment contributions, annual wage adjustments and several other contract provisions. In January 1999, PERB released its initial CAP report, marking the start of the agency’s effort to provide the public and the labor-management community with reliable statistical information about terms and conditions of public employment across the state.
The initial report – covering 1995-97 – was limited in scope to analyses of health insurance premium contributions by public employers, overall annual wage adjustments and an upstate-downstate comparison of overall annual wage adjustments. For the current CAP report, which covers 1998-99, PERB focused on expanding the data set used for analysis. As a result, this report is able to include employer health insurance contribution rates and overall wage adjustments for four geographic regions of the state, as well as upstate and downstate comparisons for schools and local governments. PERB extends its appreciation to those that helped make these reports possible, particularly the representatives who took the time to complete the CAP questionnaires.
Methodology: Bilateral Feature
Periodically, the CAP survey is mailed to the chief executive officer, or a designee, of each public employer that is known to have a bargaining relationship with an employee organization. To build confidence in, and accountability for the data collected, a unique feature is built into the request for information. The party remitting the form to PERB must either complete the questionnaire in concert with the employee organization that is also party to the agreement, or at least send a copy of the completed form to the employee organization so the latter can challenge the data, if necessary. The form indicates how to contact PERB to challenge submitted data. This feature of the data collection process controls for actual or perceived bias, and thus distinguishes the program from surveys that rely on data gathered from, or reported by, strictly one side. Where submitted information has not been compiled with, or tendered to, the other party to the agreement, the information is not factored into PERB’s analysis. Similarly, where submitted information is disputed, and not susceptible to resolution by PERB, the information is likewise excluded from the CAP database.
All reports in this study are based on individual collective bargaining agreements being the appropriate unit of analysis. For purposes of the statistics presented herein, the agreements have not been weighted according to bargaining unit size. Presentations of health insurance premium contribution rates and overall annual wage adjustments are made with standard levels of predictability.
The Contract Analysis Program seeks information from 738 school districts and Boards of Cooperative Extension Services (BOCES), pertaining to agreements covering 2557 bargaining units, as well as from 783 local municipal governments with reference to another 1555 collective bargaining agreements. Thus, a total of 1521 public employers with 4112 collective bargaining agreements were asked to provide information.
After appropriate exclusions were made for failure to include the employee organization in the survey process, as described above, and for instances of irreconcilable challenged data, information was analyzed from more than half of all the collective bargaining agreements between public employers and employee organizations under PERB’s jurisdiction (Table 1).
Responses By Bargaining Unit Type
|School Districts & BOCES||2557||1338||52.30%|
|Other School Employees||1819||898||49.40%|
|Police & Fire Fighters||431||239||55.10%|
|Other Government Employees||1124||595||52.90%|
For all but three bargaining unit types or locations, sufficient surveys were returned to yield a 95 percent confidence level for predicting that the reported statistics are applicable to the entire population. A 90% confidence level applies to the following categories: local government police and fire fighters; upstate teachers; and downstate local government.(1) The distribution of responses received from different geographic regions of the state corresponds with the geographic distribution of existing contracts. Of the 1521 public employers that have collective bargaining relationships, 56% returned valid questionnaires, including 60% of the school districts and BOCES, and 52% of the local governments. Response rates for bargaining units range from 49.4% to 59.6% by specific groups (Table 1).
Health Insurance Premium Contributions
A total of 1588 collective bargaining agreements were analyzed for employer health insurance contribution rates. The form indicated that responses were to be based on the health plan selected by the greatest percentage of unit employees; if unknown, then on the plan selected by a majority of the overall workforce.
The information utilized was the most recent arrangement between the parties over the years reported. The distribution of premium contributions made by employers for individual and family health insurance across all bargaining units is depicted in Figure 1.
The 95 percent confidence interval establishes the range within which the population’s actual mean falls. For All Units the “actual” mean value for employer premium contributions to individual health insurance falls within a range of 91.8% to 93.5%, with an average or mean of 92.7%. This represents a 1% decline from the mean reported in the last CAP report. For family coverage, the mean is 89.5% with a mean range between 88.5% and 90.4%. This represents a 1.2% decline from the previously reported mean. Table 2 presents the employer health insurance contribution rates, broken out on several levels.
Employer Health Insurance Contributions
|Mean||Mean Range||Median||Mean||Mean Range||Median|
|Other School Employees||91.80%||90.4-93.1||95.00%||88.60%||87.1-90.1||92.00%|
|Other School Employees Upstate||92.70%||91.2-94.2||95.00%||89.10%||87.5-90.7||90.00%|
|Fire & Police||92.90%||89.6-96.3||100.00%||92.10%||88.7-95.5||100.00%|
|Non-Fire & Police||93.20%||91.5-94.8||100.00%||89.70%||87.3-91.5||100.00%|
|Local Government Upstate||92.90%||91.2-94.5||100.00%||90.00%||88.2-91.7||96.50%|
|Local Government Downstate||93.90%||90.5-96.5||100.00%||90.80%||87.5-94.1||100.00%|
It is again to be noted that the contribution rates reflect those made on behalf of the majority of unit employees. Some 350 or 22% of the responses – up from 20% in the 1999 CAP report – indicated the contracts contained “tiered” health insurance rates, or otherwise contained a different rate of contribution for other employees within a bargaining unit. In 156 of these instances, employers paid 100% of the individual health insurance premiums for the unit majority, but obtained contributions from the unit minority on one of a variety of bases, including hire date, hours worked, salary, length of service, or type of health plan selected by the employee. There were 113 bargaining relationships where the employer paid 100% of the family health insurance premium for the majority of unit employees but a different rate for some members of the unit.
Overall Annual Wage Adjustments
Survey respondents were asked to provide the overall percentage change in wages for each calendar year of the contract for which information was being supplied. The overall change is defined as the percent change in base salaries for the bargaining unit, including any annual increment or step increases from the last such adjustment. The effective date of these percentage wage adjustments was also submitted. From these two pieces of information the overall annual percentage wage adjustments included in collective bargaining agreements for calendar years 1998 and 1999 are generated.(3) Additional information regarding wage adjustments was included in the responses, e.g. if so-called “split” increases took place at multiple times during the year. However, because the analysis measures percentage change and not cost, the total percentage change obtained by summing the “splits” is treated as the calendar year increase, even if a portion of the rate increase accrues in the following calendar year.
For calendar year 1998, 1298 bargaining units reported overall annual percentage wage adjustments with a mean value of 3.52%, a 0.1% decline from the 1997 mean reported in the initial CAP report. In 1999, 1147 contracts produced a mean of 3.55%. The actual mean wage adjustment for all collective bargaining agreements covering calendar year 1998 falls within the range of 3.46% to 3.59%; for 1999, the range is 3.47%-3.60%. Corresponding information for specific categories of contracts is displayed in Figure 2 (for 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999) and presented in Table 2 (1998 and 1999).
Overall Annual Wage Increases
|1998||All||Schools||Teachers||Non-Teachers||Local Government||Fire & Police(4)||Non-Fire & Police|
|1999||All||Schools||Teachers||Non-Teachers||Local Government||Fire & Police(5)||Non-Fire & Police|
All of the compulsory interest arbitration awards affecting local government police and fire fighters, covering 1998 and 1999, were analyzed. There were 46 awards issued that included measurable wage adjustments for 1998; these yielded a 3.49% mean increase and 3.45% median value. For 1999, there were 32 such awards; these produced a mean annual wage adjustment of 3.82% and a median of 4.00%. Regarding police and fire fighter voluntary settlements, i.e. any negotiations resolved without the issuance of an interest arbitration award, there is not adequate data to predict that the calculated mean values predict the “true” average for the total population. However, there is information for more than one-third of all the local government police and fire fighter contracts when voluntary settlements and interest arbitration awards are combined. Voluntary settlements within this limited universe of 108 bargaining units, were reported at a mean overall annual wage adjustment of 3.41% for 1998, with a median of 3.50%; 1999 data for 89 police and fire fighter units produced a 3.49% mean and a 3.50% median.
To preserve the standard 90% or 95% confidence level otherwise used throughout this analysis, sample sizes continue to dictate that limited regional and unit breakdowns be reported. However, compared to the first CAP report, the increased level of response during 1999 and 2000 allows for a modest expansion of the geographic and occupational summaries. Continued increases in response rates will permit more detailed reporting in the future. Responses were sufficient to allow for reporting in the All Units category not only in the overall upstate area, but also in the individual Western, Central and Northern/Capital zones that comprise that area; the overall downstate area is likewise included (Figure 3). In addition, sample sizes were sufficient to allow presentation of upstate and downstate overall wage adjustments for schools and local governments – breakdowns that were not possible for the initial CAP report. The most localized analysis for which there is adequate data reports on overall wage adjustments for upstate teachers and other school employees.
As depicted in Figure 3 and Table 4, for 1998, the mean upstate wage increase for all units was 3.43%, compared to 3.55% in 1997, with a mean range of 3.36% to 3.51%, while the mean downstate wage increase was 3.69%, a .06% decrease from 1997, with a mean range of 3.56% to 3.82%. Also presented are upstate-downstate statistics for schools and local governments for both 1998 and 1999 (Table 5).
All Units Overall Annual Wage Increases: Upstate Zones & Downstate
Schools and Local Government Overall Annual Wage Increases: Upstate & Downstate
With responses covering 208 teacher contracts, adequate data was provided to report at a 90% confidence level, a mean overall 1998 annual wage adjustment of 3.60% for teachers upstate, with a mean range of 3.48% to 3.71%, and a median of 3.5%. In 1999, the mean for teachers was 3.58% with a range of 3.46%-3.69% and a median of 3.6%. There were 292 upstate non-teacher responses for 1998 yielding a mean of 3.58%, a range of 3.43%-3.72% and a median of 3.5. In 1999, the mean for this group was 3.51% with a mean range of 3.38%-3.64%, and a median of 3.5%.
This is the second in a series of reports from PERB’s Contract Analysis Program. The request for data will continue with regular solicitations for contracts and completed Contract Analysis Program questionnaires. In the spring of 2001, school related public employers that have not submitted contracts covering calendar year 2000, or data forms with information pertaining to that year, will be mailed surveys and letters requesting that information. In July, mailings will be made to local municipal governments that have not provided the calendar year 2000 data.
Continued and expanded cooperation by management and labor representatives will directly determine whether PERB can continue to expand and refine the Contract Analysis Program. This second report is evidence that with greater participation, more detailed summaries can be offered. While we are extremely pleased with the increased level of involvement and interest thus far, increasing response rates will produce sample sizes sufficient to generate an even wider scope of analysis, with an eye toward more localized geographic breakdowns; annual wage adjustments for additional categories of bargaining units; specific wage rates for selected classifications of employees; and special wage supplements, e.g. shift differentials or graduate credit hour payments.
We hope you have found this report valuable, and will continue to support the CAP effort with your ongoing participation.
- 1 Sample sizes were sufficiently large as to permit predictability at the stated confidence level based upon the full universe of bargaining relationships within any given category, whether or not a contract was in effect for the year(s) being measured. For purposes of this report, “upstate” and “downstate” are defined according to the four geographic zones utilized by PERB in connection with contract identification. “Upstate” includes three regions; Western, Central and Northern/Capital. The counties of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates are in the Western zone; the Central region includes Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, St. Lawrence, Schuyler, Tioga, and Tompkins counties; Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington counties comprise the Northern/Capital area. The “downstate” zone includes the following counties: Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester.
- 2 Utilizes 90% rather than 95% confidence level.
- 3 To be factored into the calendar year analysis, the adjustment need not take effect on January 1, but may be effective at any date during the calendar year. Thus, for an employer on a July fiscal year that negotiates a 4% increase effective July 1, the entire scheduled increase will be factored into calendar year 1998, even though 2% of the cost accrues in calendar year 1999.
- 4 Utilizes 90% rather than 95% confidence level.
- 5 Utilizes 90% rather than 95% confidence level.
- 6 The very slight discrepancy in statewide totals between Tables 3 and 4 is attributable to an anomaly that has no effect on the analysis.
- 7 Utilizes 90% rather than 95% confidence level.
- 8 Utilizes 90% rather than 95% confidence level.