March 8, 2006. Freight and carhaul Teamsters will make less this year than last due to wages lost to inflation—despite COLA increases which will take affect next month.
Freight Teamsters will get an extra 10c raise on April 1 because inflation has jumped to 4.1% over the past year, triggering a payout from the cost of living clause in the National Master Freight Agreement. Under the NMFA, a COLA kicks in when inflation exceeds 3.5 percent—so freight Teamsters will get an extra dime or slightly less than 1/2 percent of the wage rate.
The carhaul contract has superior language, so carhaulers will get 21c per hour, or about 1%, on June 1. Carhaulers suffered a two year wage freeze in the present contract, and lost 6% of real wages to inflation, so the 1% increase is more than welcome.
These COLA increases are in addition to the regular wage increases of 45c (2.0%) for freight, and 40c (1.9%) for carhaul. The COLA for freight mileage pay is .25c per mile, and for carhaul it is 1.05c per loaded mile and .525c per running mile.
Even with COLA payout, freight and carhaul Teamsters will lose real wages over the year to inflation. Freight Teamsters will make 33c less this year than last, measured in “real wages”, the economists’ term that takes into account inflation. Carhaulers will make 27c per hour less.
International officers will get a COLA raise on July 1, calculated on a rather different formula, the details of which will be known in May. If inflation for that period is 4.1%, the COLA raise for James Hoffa will be $5.03 per hour, with similar increases for other IBT officials.