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Employee-Benefit Plans
Under Collective Bargaining,
Mid- 1 9 5 0




Bulletin No. 1017
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
M aurice J. Tobin , Secretary
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
E wan Cl ague , C om m issioner




Employee-Benefit Plans
Under Collective Bargaining,
Mid-1950

[Reprinted from the February 1951 M onthly Labor Review .]

Bulletin No. 1017
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
M aurice J. Tobin , Secretary
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
E wan Clague , C om m issioner

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office, Washington 25, D. C.




Price 15 cents




Letter of Transmittal
U nited States D epartment of L abor,
B ureau of L abor Statistics,
W a s h in g to n , D . C ., F e b r u a r y 1 4 , 1 9 5 1 .

The Secretary

of

L abor:

I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on the status of employe
benefit plans under collective bargaining during mid-1950. The report d e t
primarily with the extent and financing of these programs by broad indust
groups, major union affiliation, and specific types of benefits.

The report was prepared in the Bureau’s Division of Industrial Relations
Relatio
by Evan Keith Rowe.
E wan C lague, C o m m is s io n e r .

Hon. M aurice J. T obin,
S e c r e ta r y o f L a b o r .

Contents
P
age

1

Pension plans________________________________________________________
Industry coverage_______________________________________________
Financing_______________________________________________________
Extent by union affiliation_______________________________________
Health and insurance benefits________________________________________
Industry coverage_______________________________________________
Financing________________
Extent by union affiliation
Specific types of benefits. _
(in)

3
3
4
5
5
5




CO CO CO

Extent of coverage______________________________________________




Employee-Benefit Plans Under Collective Bargaining,
Mid-1950
prolonged stoppages preceded their establishment;
for example, the month-long strike in the basic
steel industry in late 1949, and the United Auto­
mobile Workers (CIO)-Chrysler Corp. dispute,
which began in late January 1950 and was termi­
nated in May.4
Finally, union pressures for more adequate
pensions, combined with the negotiation of major
plans integrated with Social Security, led to
increasing employer acceptance of a higher level
of old-age benefits. In August 1950, these factors,
in conjunction with still rising living costs, resulted
in substantial amendments to the Social Security
Act.

At least 7,650,000 workers were covered by pen­
sion or social insurance benefits under collective
bargaining by mid-1950. The extent of benefit
coverage— more than double that found in 1948—
reflects the widespread movement in the last 2
years on the part of employers and unions to
establish new programs, or to bring existing pro­
grams within the scope of labor-management
agreements.1
B y mid-1950, practically every major union in
the country (excluding unions representing rail­
road and government employees for whom special
Federal, State, or municipal legislation exists) had,
to some extent, negotiated pension or “ health and
welfare” programs.
Labor's drive for “ security programs” — health,
insurance, pensions—first was given impetus dur­
ing the war by the Government's wage stabiliza­
tion and taxation policies, which made such
programs feasible and less expensive to employers.
Later, higher retirement annuities were sought
because Federal old-age benefits, which had re­
mained unchanged until 1950, proved increasingly
inadequate in the face of rising prices.
Early in 1949, the legal obligation of employers
to bargain on pensions under the Labor Manage­
ment Relations Act of 1947 was affirmed by the
United States Supreme Court.2 Later that year,
organized labor received additional support by the
Steel Industry Fact-finding Board, which held
that industry had both a social and economic
obligation to provide its workers with social insur­
ance and pensions.3
Following these endorsements, organized labor
accelerated and intensified its drive for pensions
and insurance. In many instances, agreements on
benefit programs were concluded peacefully. In
a significant number of cases, however, severe and

Extent of Coverage 6
Of the approximately 7,650,000 workers cov­
ered by some type of health, insurance, or pension
plan under collective bargaining, about 60 percent
were covered by plans which included pensions as
T able 1.—

Workers covered by employee-benefit plans under
collective-bargaining agreements,1 mid-1950
Total cov­
ered




AFL

CIO

Unaffiliated

Type of plan
Work­
Work­
Work­
Work­
ers Per­ ers Per­ ers Per­ ers Per­
(thou­ cent (thou­ cent (thou­ cent (thou­ cent
sands)
sands)
sands)
sands)
Total...........................

7,652 100.0

2,683 100.0

3,631 100.0

1,338 100.0

Health and welfare*
and pension com­
bined____________
Health and welfare___
Pension or retirement-

4,599 60.1
2,529 33.1
524 6.8

884 32.9
1,364 50.9
435 16.2

2,830 78.0
749 20.6
52 1.4

885 66.1
416 31.1
37 2.8

1Data based on information for 71 AFL unions, 29 CIO unions, and 31
unaffiliated unions. Also includes scattered AFL federal labor unions and
CIO local industrial unions and unaffiliated unions confined to a single plant
or establishment.
3Includes one or more of the following types of benefits: life insurance or
death; accidental death and dismemberment; accident and sickness (but
not sick leave or workmen’s compensation); cash or services covering hospital,
surgical, maternity, and medical care.

(i)

932507—51

Major union affiliation

2
well as social insurance benefits.® Slightly over
33 percent were under plans providing social
insurance benefits only, and almost 7 percent
were covered by pensions alone (table 1).
Approximately 35 percent of the 7.6 million
workers under benefit plans were under plans of
unions affiliated with the American Federation of
Labor.7 About 47 percent were included under
benefit programs negotiated by affiliated unions
of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, and
the remainder by unaffiliated or independent
unions.
Individual unions have succeeded in negotiating
plans for the workers they represent in varying
degrees. Of the 79 national and international
unions which provided information on both the
total number of workers under all their agreements
and the number covered by employee-benefit
plans, 48 secured these benefits for a substantial
majority of all the workers they represent. For
35 of these unions, the coverage ranged from 80 to
100 percent of all the workers under agreement
(table 2).
Many of the programs were originally estab­
lished by management and later brought within
the scope of the collective-bargaining agreement.
Such plans were frequently amended and liber­
alized, as for example, the pension plan of the
Bethlehem Steel Corp., first adopted in 1923. In
many instances, however, the plans were created
through collective bargaining, no plan having
T a b l e 3.—

viously existed in the particular industry or
establishment. Examples of this type are the
United Mine Workers Welfare and Retirement
Fund and the Ford M otor Co.— UAW (CIO)
pension plan.
T a b l e 2. —

Distribution of reporting unions,l by proportion
of workers covered by employee-benefit plans to workers
covered by agreements, mid-1950

Reporting
Number of unions whose total agreement
Workers cov­
unions
coverage (workers) was—
ered by em­
ployee-benefit
plans as per­ Num­ Per­ Under 10,000 25,000 50,000 100,000 250,000
cent of all
ber
to
and
cent 10,000 to
to
to
workers
24,999 49,999 99,999 249,999 over
Total..............

79

100

18

14

14

11

12

10

80-100........
60-79________
40-59________
20-39__........
0-19_________

35
13
17
12
2

45
16
22
15
2

10
1
4
3

5
5
2
2

6
1
5
2

4
2
2
3

4
1
4
2
1

6
3
1

4Includes only those national or international unions for which data were
available both on total number of workers covered by all their agreements and
total number of workers covered by health, welfare, and pension programs
under these agreements; single-firm unions were excluded.

Among the industries in which large numbers
of workers are covered by some type of employeebenefit program under labor-management con­
tracts, metal products (including steel, automobile,
and machinery) account for nearly 2.5 million
persons (table 3). Almost 1.5 million workers
each are covered by plans in (1) textile, apparel,
and leather, and (2) transportation, communica­
tions, and other public utilities (except railroads).8

Workers covered by employee-benefit plans under collective-bargaining agreements, mid-1950, by major industry
groups 1
Type of plan
Total covered
Industry group
Workers
(thousands)

Per­
cent

Health and welfare
only2
Workers
(thousands)

Per­
cent

Pension only
Workers
(thousands)

Per­
cent

Health, welfare,
and pension
Workers
(thousands)

Per­
cent

7,652
Food and tobacco......................................................................................
Textile, apparel and leather.......................................................................
Lumber and furniture___________________________________________
Paper and allied products. - .................. ............ .......................................
Printing and publishing.............................................................................
Petroleum, chemicals, and rubber......... ...................................................
Metal products.........................................................................................
Stone, clay, and glass.................................................................................
Mining and quarrying___________________________________________
Transportation, communications, and other public utilities3
...................
Trade, finance, insurance, and services.....................................................
Unclassified_________________ ______________ _____________ ______
1Data based on information for 71AFL unions, 29 CIO unions, and 31
unaffiliated unions. Also includes scattered AFL federal labor unions and
OIO local industrial unions and unaffiliated unions confined to a single plant
or establishment.
2Includes one or more of the following types of benefits: life insurance or
death; accidental death and dismemberment; accident and sickness (but not




100.0

2,529

33.1

524

6.8

4,599

60.1

205
1,401
102
191
63
460
2,481
128
492
1,389
299
441

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

118
747
88
51
46
99
470
62
26
365
228
229

57.5
53.2
86.3
26.7
72.4
21.5
18.9
48.4
5.3
26.3
76.2
51.9

10

4.9
(<)

33
30
157
4

17.3
(4
)
6.5
6.3
3.2

141
5
144

10.2
1.7
32.7

77
654
14
107
17
331
1,854
62
466
883
66
68

37.6
46.7
13.7
56.0
27.0
72.0
74.8
48.4
94.7
63.5
22.1
15.4

00
00

sick leave or workmen’s compensation); cash or services covering hospital,
surgical, maternity, and medical care.
3Less than 1,000.
4Less than 1 percent.
5Excludes railroads,

3

Chart 1 . Extent and Method of Financing Employee-Benefit Plans Under Collective Bargaining

WORKERS C O V E R E D BY E M P L O Y E E - B E N E F I T P L A N S (7 , 6 5 2 , 0 0 0 )
Health a Welfare
and Pension Plans

iiiiii

6 0 . 1%

Health a
Welfare
•

•

Pension or
Retirement
•

*

i n

i

33.1%

6.8%

M E T H O D OF F IN A N C IN G :
tM e& U U ou td 'W elfeiA e. P lcu tA
Employer
only

Joint-Employer
a Employee

Undetermined

19.4%

5.9%

54.6 %
P enA U m P low U

74.7 %
U IT D S A E D P R M N O L B R
N E T T S EA T E T F A O
B R A O L B RS A IS IC
UEU F AO T T T S

Pension Plans
Stress on pensions during this period reflected
organized labor’s desire to round out the “ pack­
age” of benefits— protection against the future
hazards of old age, as well as against the current
contingencies of death or serious and prolonged
illness.
Pension plans within the scope of collectivebargaining agreements covered approximately 5.1
million workers in mid-1950 (table 4). This was
more than three times the number reported 2
years earlier.
In d u stry Coverage .

The increase in pension cover­
age in the past year is attributable in large part to




the establishment of pension plans in the basic
industries, notably steel and automobile. Ap­
proximately IK million workers in these two
industries alone were covered by pension plans
negotiated through collective bargaining since the
summer of 1949. The metal products group of
industries (steel, automobile, machinery) thus
leads all others in number of workers covered by
pension plans, accounting for two out of every
five workers so covered. (See table 5.)
Equally significant is the extent to which
workers in certain industry groups are almost
completely covered by pension plans in agree­
ments. Better than 70 percent of all workers
covered by employee-benefit plans in the follow­
ing industry groups are covered by pensions:

4
T a b l e 4. —

Workers covered by employee-benefit plans under
collective-bargaining agreements, mid-1950, by method of
financing
Total
covered

Major union affiliation
AFL

CIO

Unaffiliated

Method of financing
Work­
Work­
Work­
Work­
ers Per­ ers Per­ ers Per­ ers Per­
(thou­ cent (thou­ cent (thou­ cent (thou­ cent
sands)
sands)
sands)
sands)
HEALTH AND WELFARE PLANS 1
Total............ .............

7,128 100.0

2,248 100.0

3,580 100.0

1,300 100.0

Employer only...........
Joint—employer and
employee.................
Undetermined............

3,890 54.6

1,509 67.1

1,491 41.7

890 68.4

2,600 36.5
638 8.9

440 19.6
299 13.3

1,837 51.3
252 7.0

323 24.9
87 6.7

921 100.0

PENSION PLANS2
Total.............. ...........

5,123 100.0

1,319 100.0

2,883 100.0

Employer only______
Joint—employer and
employee_____ ____
Undetermined............

3,828 74.7

771 58.5

2,342 81.3

715 77.6

993 19.4
302 5.9

495 37.5
53 4.0

338 11.7
203 7.0

160 17.4
46 5.0

1Includes one or more of the following types of benefits: Life insurance or
death; accidental death and dismemberment; accident and sickness (but not
sick leave or workmen’s compensation); cash or services covering hospital,
surgical, maternity, and medical care.
Data based on information for 70AFL unions, 29 CIO unions, and31 unaffili­
ated unions. Also includes scattered AFL federal labor unions and CIO
local industrial unions and unaffiliated unions confined to a single plant or
establishment. Where data on coverage were available, but method of financ­
ing not specified, workers were included in the “undetermined” category.
2Data based on information for 52 AFL unions, 23 CIO unions, and 22 un­
affiliated unions. Also includes scattered AFL federal labor unions and CIO
local industrial unions and unaffiliated unions confined to a single plant or
establishment. Where data on coverage were available, but method of
financing not specified, workers were included in the “undetermined” cate­
gory.

paper and allied products; petroleum, chemicals,
and rubber; metal products; mining and quarry­
ing; and transportation, communications, and
other public utilities (excluding railroads). (See
table 3.)
F inancin g . One of the major, if not the most
important, issues which arose in connection with
labor’s drive to establish or to bring employeebenefit plans under collective bargaining was the
question of costs—whether these programs were
to be financed by the employer alone, or by con­
tributions from both employer and employee.
The Steel Industry Board expressed the opinion
th at employers should bear the entire cost, but no
uniformity on financing followed. Major settle­
ments in the steel and automobile industries, for
example, provided for employer-financed pensions
and jointly financed social-insurance benefits. In
such industries as longshoring, maritime, truck­
ing, and building construction, in which bargain­
ing is generally on a multiemployer or employer


association basis, so-called industry or area benefit
funds to which employers alone contribute have
been the general rule.
The great majority of workers under negotiated
pension plans do not directly contribute to their
cost. Of the 4.8 million workers for whom data
were available on the method of financing, fourfifths were covered by employer-financed pension
programs (table 4). From 80 to 100 percent of all
workers under pension agreements were covered
on a noncontributory basis in 51 of the 91 unions
for which data were available (table 6).
Employer-financed pension plans covered ap­
proximately 8 out of every 10 workers who were
eligible for this benefit under agreements of CIO
and unaffiliated unions, and 6 out of every 10
workers under pension plans in agreements con­
cluded by AFL affiliates (table 4).
More than 90 percent of the workers in the
textile, apparel and leather; printing and publish­
ing; stone, clay, and glass; and mining and quarry­
ing industry groups were covered by noncontribu­
tory pension programs. Over 70 percent of the
workers in lumber and furniture; metal products;
Chart 2. Prevalence of Employer-Financed EmployeeBenefit Plans M id -1 9 5 0

5

and transportation, communications and other
public utilities were similarly covered (table 5).

Extent by Union Affiliation. The emphasis placed
upon pensions during the last 2 years, particularly
by labor organizations in the large mass-production
industries (such as steel, automobile, rubber, and
glass), is shown by the following: Of all workers
under negotiated employee-benefit programs,
about four out of five CIO workers, one out of
every two AFL workers, and two out of every three
employees in unaffiliated unions were covered by
pensions.
Of the 5.1 million workers covered by nego­
tiated pension plans, slightly more than 56 per­
cent are under programs of unions affiliated with
the CIO. Approximately a fourth are included
under plans negotiated by AFL affiliated unions
and the remainder—approximately 18 percent—
by unaffiliated or independent unions (table 4).
T a b l e 5.—

Health and Insurance Benefits
Agreements providing health and insurance
coverage afforded protection to some 7,000,000
workers, an increase of about 2 % times the num­
ber of workers covered in mid-1948 (table 4).
Equally significant is the fact that workers
formerly covered by one or two types of benefits
now receive closer to a full “package” ; i. e., life
insurance, accidental death and dismemberment,
accident and sickness, hospitalization, surgical,
and medical. More liberal benefit payments have
also been agreed upon, in many instances. In
addition, dependents of workers are also increas­
ingly covered by hospitalization and medicaland surgical-care benefit plans.

Industry Coverage. Among those industries in
which large numbers of workers are covered by
one or more health and/or insurance benefits,

Workers covered by employee-benefit plans under collective-bargaining agreements, mid-1950} by major industry
groups and method of financing
Method of financing
i otai co'rered
Employer only

Industry group

Jointly financed

Undetermined

Workers
Workers
Workers
Workers
(thousands) Percent (thousands) Percent (thousands) Percent (thousands) Percent

HEALTH AND WELFARE PLANS1
7,128
Food and tobacco......................................................................................
Textile, apparel, and leather........... ..................... ..................-...............
Lumber and furniture........................ .............................................. .......
Paper and allied products.................................................... -..................
Printing and publishing................................................... ....... ...............
Petroleum, chemicals, and rubber------- ---------- -------------------------------Metal products......................... ................................. .............................
Stone, clay, and glass........ ........................................................................
Mining and quarrying.......................... ........ .................................. ......
Transportation, communications, and other public utilities4..................
Trade, finance, insurance, and services____________________________
Unclassified______ __________________ _____________ ____________

100.0

3,890

54.6

2,600

36.5

638

8.9

195
1,401

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

146
1,268
83
37
54
90
350
39
474
880
238
231

74.9
90.5
81.4
23.4
84.8
20.9
15.1
31.5
96.3
70.5
81.0
77.8

41
37
15
114
9
315
1,678
85
15

2 1 .0
2 .6

8

4.1
6.9
3.9
4.4

33
47

15.8

3
157
23
19

74.7

993

102

158
63
430
2,324
124
492
1,248
294
297

211

96
4
7

14.7
72.2
14.3
73.3
72.2

0

6 8 .6

0

3.1
16.9
1 1.2

25
296

0

5.8
12.7

0
0
1 2.6

7.8
6.4

PENSION PLANS*
Total_________ _______ _______________________________________
Food and tobacco___________________ ________ ____ ________ _____
Textile, apparel, and leather____________ _________ _________ _____
Lumber and furniture_____ _____________ _______________________
Paper and allied products. _______ _______________________________
Printing and publishing__________ ____ __________ _____________
Petroleum, chemicals, and rubber______ __________________________
Metal products___ _________ ________ ____________ ______________
Stone, clay, and glass___ ______________ _________________________
Mining and quarrying___ _________ ________________ ____________
Transportation, communications, and other public utilities4..................
Trade, finance, insurance, and services.....................................................
Unclassified_________ ________ ________ _____ _________ _____ _____
1Includes one or more of the following types of benefits: life insurance or
death; accidental death and dismemberment; accident and sickness (but not
sick leave or workmen’s compensation); cash or services covering hospital,
surgical, maternity, and medical care.
Data based on information for 70 AFL unions, 29 CIO unions, and 31
unaffiliated unions. Also includes scattered AFL federal labor unions and
CIO local industrial unions and unaffiliated unions confined to a single nlant
or establishment.




5,123
87~
654
14
140
17
361
2,011
66

466
1,024
71
212

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

3,828
56~
617
10
66

16
153
1,499
60
462
756
33
100

64.4
94.3
71.4
47.1
94.1
42.4
74.5
90.9
98.2
73.8
46.5
47.2

19.4

302

5.9

17~
30

19.5
4.6

16.1

74

52.3
5.9
53.7
13.8
9.1

14
7
4

1

194
277
6

4
249
35
106

0

24.3
49.3
50.0

0

1 .1

28.6
0

14
235

3.9
11.7

19
3

1.9
4.2

6

2 .8

Less than 1,000.
* Less than 1 percent.
4 Excludes railroads.
* Data based on information for 52 AFL unions, 23 CIO unions, and 22
unaffiliated unions. Also includes scattered AFL federal labor unions and
CIO local industrial unions and unaffiliated unions confined to a single plant
or establishment.
2

6
metal products (including steel, automobile, and
machinery) account for some 2.3 million, or almost
a third of the total number of workers (7,128,000)
covered by all health and insurance plans under
agreement. Two other industry groups—textile,
apparel, and leather, and transportation, communications, and other public utilities—each have
between 1 and 1% million so protected (table 5).

Financing. Data were available on the method
of financing for nearly 6.5 million workers.
Nearly 60 percent of these workers were covered
by employer-financed health and insurance plans
(table 4).
Of the unions for which data were avail­
able, about half had from 80 to 100 percent of all
workers under health and welfare plans covered
on a noncontributory basis (table 6). Such non­
contributory programs were characteristic of the
(1) textile, apparel, and leather, (2) lumber and
furniture, (3) printing and publishing, (4) mining
and quarrying, and (5) trade, finance, insurance,
and service industry groups; and they applied to
more than 80 percent of the workers under plans
in each of these groups. Jointly financed health
and welfare programs, on the other hand, were
fairly prominent in the paper and allied products;
petroleum, chemicals, and rubber; metal products;
and stone, clay, and glass industries (table 5).

ticularly after World War I, were revised or ter­
minated because of rising benefit costs, financial
instability, and, later, the enactment of the Social
Security Act of 1935. Others have continued and
are still in effect.
Originally, these union programs were frequently
the sole source of worker protection. Later, how­
ever, industry established programs providing sim­
ilar benefits, in many cases on a noncontributory
basis. Until the mid-1920,s, organized labor made
little effort to bring these programs within the
scope of the agreement. Only in isolated cases
was this accomplished until the World War II
period.

Currently, unions have sought, and in many
instances, have obtained a “complete package”
of insurance and health benefits, providing some
protection against the costs, expenses, and loss of
income resulting from death, illness, and injury.
Life insurance ranks first among the individual
insurance benefits provided in contracts, in terms
of the number of workers covered. It is followed
T a b l e 6 .—

Percent of
All unions
workers cov­
ered by employer-financed
Num­ Per­
plans
ber
cent

_____________________

Extent by Union Affiliation^ Of the more than
7,000,000 workers covered by health and insurance
benefits under agreements, approximately 50 per­
cent were under programs of unions affiliated with
the CIO. Slightly less than a third were included
under plans negotiated by AFL affiliates, and the
remainder by unaffiliated or independent unions.

Prevalence of employer-financed employee-benefit
plans, mid-1950
AFL unions
Num­
ber

Per­
cent

CIO unions
Num­
ber

Per­
cent

Unaffiliated
unions
Num­
ber

Per­
cent

HEALTH AND WELFARE PLANS i
Total..............

*124

100

67

100

29

100

28

100

80-100.............
60-79...............
40-69________
20-39.............
0-19____ ____

60

48
9
16

37

56
9

12
2

41
7

11

39

11

18
8

27

6
22

6
8

3
13

3
4

12

4
19

10

8

14
28

3
7

11

26

4

1
6

21

PENSION PLANS *
Total_______

Specific Types oj Benefits. Historically, a number
of unions started largely as fraternal or benevolent
associations, to provide sick, out-of-work, old-age,
and mortuary benefits. Some of these programs
were replaced later by more formal arrangements
through group life and casualty insurance, under­
written in a few cases by union-sponsored insur­
ance companies. Others retained essentially their
original form—the self-insured union fund type.
Still other benefits were dropped entirely from the
union program—to be replaced by legislated pro­
grams—for example, unemployment benefits and
old-age insurance. M any union programs, par­



291

100

51

100

23

100

17

100

80-100_______
60-79________
40-59.........
20-39________
0-19..............

51

56

27

53

53

12

6

12

65
13
13

9

11
8

15
3
3

12

2

9

2
1
2

3

7
14

9
8

15

4
5
9

7
10

18

5

12

18

1 Includes one or more of following types of benefits: life insurance or death;
accidental death and dismemberment; accident and sickness (but not sick
leave or workmen's compensation); cash or services covering hospital, sur­
gical, maternity, and medical care.
For 30 unions, data on method of financing these benefits were available
for only a part of the covered workers. For 19 of these, the size of the un­
known group was insignificant; even if known, it would not have affected
classification of the union in a particular percentage range. In the remaining
11 unions, the size of the unknown group was sufficiently large to affect their
classification; in each such instance, these unions were placed in the lower
percentage range.
* Excludes single-firm unions.
* For 14 unions, data on the method of financing these benefits were avail­
able for only a part of the covered workers. For 9 of these, the size of the
unknown group was insignificant and even if known, would not have affected
the classification of the union in a particular percentage range. In the re­
maining 5 unions, the size of the unknown group was sufficiently large
to affect their classification and in each such instance, these unions were
placed in the lower percentage range.

7
T a b l e 7 .—

Specific health and welfare benefits in collective-bargaining agreements, mid-1950: Workers covered and method
of financing
Workers covered by
specific benefit

Type of benefit

Life insurance or death benefit________________________________________
Accidental death and dismemberment_________________________________
Cash payments for loss oftime resulting from temporary sickness and accident
(excluding sick leave and workmen’s compensation)____________________
Hospitalization_____________________________________________________
Surgical and/or medical______________________________________________

Method of financing

Employer only
Jointly financed
Number
Percent of
total workers
of unions
covered by
reporting
benefit1 Number2 all health
(thousands) and welfare Workers
Workers
benefits in
Percent (thousands) Percent
140 reporting (thousands)
unions 3
*

101

4,150
1,983

95.6
45.7

2,780
1,395

67.0
70.4

1,370
588

33.0
29.6

101
110
101

2,781
3,461
3,140

64.1
79.8
72.4

1,640
2,245
2,245

59.0
64.9
71.5

1,141
1,216
895

41.0
35.1
28.5

139

1 Data on specific benefit coverage were available for 140 unions, including
38 AFL, 17 CIO, 20 unaffiliated unions. Also includes scattered AFL
federal labor unions and CIO local industrial unions and unaffiliated unions
confined to a single plant or establishment.

2 Figures not additive since many workers are covered by more than one
type of benefit.
* These 140 unions reported slightly more than 4.3 million workers covered
by their health and welfare plans.

by hospitalization care or reimbursement for hos­
pital expenses; surgical and/or medical care or
reimbursement; accident and sickness payments;
and accidental death and dismemberment cash
benefits, in that order (table 7).9
Over 95 percent (4,150,000) of all workers under
health and welfare plans in the 140 unions report­
ing the distribution of workers by specific type of
benefit were covered by life insurance. Between
3 and 3% million each were covered by hospitali­
zation and surgical and/or medical benefits, with
approximately 2.8 million covered by accident and
sickness (excluding sick leave and workmen’s
compensation) and 1.9 million by accidental death
and dismemberment benefits. About 7 out of
every 10 workers covered by life insurance, acci­
dental death and dismemberment, and surgical
and/or medical benefits received this protection at
the employer’s sole expense. A slightly smaller
proportion received hospitalization and accident
and sickness benefits at no cost to the employee
(table 7).

nation with wages. Thus, upwards of 55 percent (28,000,000 man-days) of
all strike idleness during 1949 resulted from stoppages involving pension and
insurance issues, including major strikes in steel and coal.
During the first 6 months of 1950, pensions and insurance alone or in com­
bination with wages continued to dominate labor’s demands. Lost time
resulting from these issues amounted to more than 70 percent of the 24,000,000
man-days of strike idleness recorded through June.
* Data on the extent and financing of employee-benefit plans in mid-1950
are based on a questionnaire survey of all national and international unions
(AFL, CIO, and Independent) as well as a number of single-firm unions
whose membership generally exceeded 500. Data developed through these
sources were supplemented by field visits, materials in the Bureau’s files,
and other sources. The figure of 7,650,000 workers covered by employeebenefit plans in labor-management contracts should not, however, be taken
to represent the total or maximum number of all workers covered by such
plans in all current contracts. It falls short in two respects: Partial figures
only were available for a few unions, while others failed to furnish any data.
No attempt was made to estimate the number of additional workers covered
by employee-benefit plans in the agreements of unions which furnished only
partial reports, or which failed to provide any data on the coverage of these
plans. The figures, however, are highly significant in that they are based
on data for unions having an estimated total membership of slightly more
than 13,000,000, exclusive of railroad and government unions.
• Social-insurance benefits include life insurance or death, accidental death
and dismemberment, accident and sickness (but not sick leave or workmen's
compensation) cash or services coveringhospital, surgical, maternity, medical
care. The terms “social insurance’’ and “health and welfare’’ are used
interchangeably in this report.
7 Many AFL affiliates as well as their locals have, for many years, main­
tained benefit programs financedentirelyby membership dues orassessments.
According to the Report of the Executive Council of the American Federation
of Labor to the Sixty-ninth Convention, September 18, 1950 (pp. 80-84),
about 70 national or international unions maintain some type of benefit
program for their members. Disbursements under these programs during
1949 totaled slightly over $67,000,000 for death, sick, unemployment, old age,
disability, and miscellaneous (including strike) benefits.
8 Precise interindustry comparisons must, of course, take into account, in
addition to the extent to which these benefits have been incorporated into
collective-bargaining agreements, such factors as the volume of employment
in the industry, the degree of union organization (extent of collective bargain­
ing), and the existence of unions’ own benefit plans.
8 The relative position of accident and sickness coverage in this order is
undoubtedly affected by the presence of paid sick leave plans under many
union contracts. These plans, which are excluded from this study, often
provide essentially the same protection as weekly accident and sickness
insurance. The number of workers actually protected under union contract
against loss ofincome resulting from injury or accident isthereforeconsiderably
greater than is indicated by this study. For a study on the prevalence of sick
leave and accident and sickness benefits under union agreements, see Sickness
and Accident Benefits in Union Agreements, 1949, Monthly Labor Review,
June 1950 (p. 636).

1It should be emphasized that the increase from about 3,000,000 in 1948
to approximately 7,660,000 workers covered by collectively bargained benefit
plans in 1950 does not represent a net increase in the total benefit coverage
of workers in private industry. Many programs had existed for some time
before they were brought within the scope of collective bargaining, and
there are many other employer-sponsored programs which are not under
collective bargaining.
2 Inland Steel Co., 77 N. L. R. B. 1, enforcement granted, 170, Fed. 2d 247
(1948), cert, denied, 336 U. S. 960, 69 Sup. Ct. 887 (1949).
* Report to the President of the United States on the Labor Dispute in
the Basic Steel Industry, by the Steel Industry Board, September 10, 1949
(pp. 7-8).
* Over 26 percent of the 50,000,000 man-days of strike idleness occurring
during 1949—the second highest on record—was caused by disputes in which
pensions and insurance were the sole issues; an additional 29 percent of the
total idleness was accounted for by disputes involving these issues in combi­




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