Business: Labor's Pussycat Year

Welcome though it is, the current slowing of consumer price rises leaves most of the nation's work force far behind in the race with inflation. During the past three years, living costs have soared 27.3%, but the average weekly pay of non-farm workers has risen only 18.8%. Unions thus are in a painful dilemma: they have a case for catch-up wage increases to restore lost purchasing power but little opportunity to win any. This year's bargaining calendar is relatively light; fewer leading unions have contracts coming up for renegotiation than last year. Those that do—including unions representing airline, utility, maritime and...

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