AT&T’s Union Workers Snub Contract Extension

It’s back to the drawing board after what seemed like a done deal between AT&T and employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers fell through on Friday.

Nearly 7,000 of the carrier’s core wireline workers in Illinois and northwestern Indiana chose not to ratify a one-year contract extension. The two sides plan to work with each other further to hammer out an agreement, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Everything seemed to be heading in the right direction when leaders from both sides came to a tentative agreement in May. The extension would have given workers a 1 percent pay hike and a bonus of $500 for workers making less than $50,000 per year. Those making more than that would get a $300 signing bonus. But it turns out that wasn’t enough.

AT&T is asking workers to contribute more to their health-care premiums to balance some of the losses it is taking as more and more people dump landlines for cellphones.

AT&T’s wireline division consists of traditional landlines and its U-verse TV service. Tens of thousands of employees represented by the Communications Workers of America and the IBEW are impacted by the vote. Many had contracts that expired two weeks ago; others will see theirs end in about a month, the Journal said.


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