AT&T: We’ve Reached a New, Tentative Deal With CWA

AT&T Inc. (T) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union have reached a long-awaited, tentative deal in their negotiations over a new wireline contract in the Southeast.

The two parties had come to an understanding in December, but labor members in the Southeast then voted against the terms. On Monday, AT&T said there’s a new proposal; CWA workers will vote on it “in coming days,” AT&T said in a brief statement.

Like the prior deal, this one includes pay and pension increases for each of the agreement’s three years. The health care coverage will include lower premiums in the second year of the contract, although there would be no premiums in the first year. The lower premiums would replace health reimbursement accounts. AT&T also would pay cash rewards rather than funneling them into CWA members’ health reimbursement plans.

The pending contract covers about 30,000 employees in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The prospective accord means about 97 percent – or 120,000 – of AT&T’s wireline workers are now covered by ratified contracts or tentative agreements, AT&T said.

AT&T’s East Region, which covers workers in Connecticut, remains the sole market that still must reach a contract. Employees there are working under expired terms.

AT&T’s shares were down .91 percent at $25.01 about 40 minutes before Wall Street’s close.

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