AT&T has a tentative, three-year agreement with the Communications Workers of America in California and Nevada that covers more than 17,000 wireline workers. The full body of union members will vote on it soon.
The two sides reached the agreement through lengthy negotiations and mediation conducted by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).
Wireline employees represented by the CWA in different regions have separate contract negotiations with the carrier. AT&T got deals done with the Midwest region in August and workers in the Southeast in December. Yet another contract awaits approval in the Southwest.
While AT&T won't comment on terms of this latest agreement until it is presented to union members, one can assume it will be close to what was agreed upon in other regions. For example, the pending Southwest agreement includes wage hikes of 2.25 percent the first year, 2.5 percent in the second year, 2.75 percent in the third and 3 percent in year four. It also includes a 1 percent pension band increase in each year of the contract for most employees, and includes a provision that promises qualified surplus employees a guaranteed job opportunity with AT&T. Employees will be required to pay more toward their health premiums.
Negotiations between carriers and their wireline employees have become more heated over the last few years as more and more people abandon landlines in favor of cellphones. That's made the wireline side of the business less profitable and has led to layoffs and reductions in benefits for these workers.
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