In the private sector, a raise in salary is usually tied to performance. This includes both the performance of the individual worker and the company as a whole. The reason for this is obvious. Tying raises to individual performance encourages the individual pursuit of excellence and any company that continued to give out raises while not making a profit would go bankrupt. While it would be nice, expecting raises to be automatic is simply not realistic.
Of course, that way of thinking is how things operate in the private sector. The public sector of government employees is a different world all together, as illustrated in this Burlington Free Press article.
“Automatic raises averaging 1.8 percent for teachers this school year even though they haven’t agreed to a new labor contract are a key aspect to stalemate. The board wants the contract language guaranteeing such raises in the future to go; teachers want it stay.”