Earlier this month, the CWA’s executive board voted to approve a strike. The decision allowed CWA President Chris Shelton to set a strike date if negotiators can’t reach an agreement. The workers’ contracts expired last month.
In their joint statement, Linda Hinton, CWA District 4 vice president, and Lisa Bolton, CWA telecommunications and technologies vice president, said the final proposal is a “desperate attempt by AT&T to avoid reaching an agreement that would keep good, family-supporting jobs in our communities.”
“Instead of continuing our agreed-upon negotiation process, they have violated the National Labor Relations Act by sending their misleading summary directly to CWA members and by failing to bargain in good faith,” they said. “AT&T should make no mistake — CWA members will not be fooled by this outrageous attempt to divide us. ‘No Jobs, No Deal’ isn’t just a slogan. It is a commitment that we have made to one another to stand together and fight against AT&T’s relentless outsourcing of our jobs in pursuit of more and more astronomical profits.”
Marty Richter, AT&T spokesman, said after more than 10 weeks of negotiations, “we’ve made comprehensive and very fair final offers to the CWA in Midwest and Legacy T wireline bargaining.”
“The contracts currently cover good-paying U.S. jobs averaging over $120,000 a year in pay and benefits, with some making over $200,000,” he said. “We’re offering generous packages including annual wage increases, continuation of job security provisions that are virtually unheard of in the U.S., and comprehensive health-care and retirement benefits. All employees covered by the offers would be better off. In addition, the Midwest offer includes a commitment to hire 1,000 people in the region.”
The CWA’s claim that AT&T violated the National Labor Relations Act is false, Richter said. AT&T took this step with a goal of “being transparent with our employees, in hopes of bringing the process to a close and reaching agreements that will allow us to continue to provide solid union careers with excellent wages and benefits,” he said.
“We presented the offers to the union’s negotiating teams at the bargaining tables, and we’ll continue to discuss the final offers with the union, and to communicate the terms of the offers with our employees, as permitted by law,” he said. “We hope employees covered by the offers will carefully review them and ask union leadership for an opportunity to vote on them.”
Progress was made during the past few weeks on many issues, and “our bargaining teams are committed to negotiating fair contracts at AT&T Midwest and Legacy T,” Hinton and Bolton said.
The AT&T Midwest contract covers workers in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, while the Legacy T contract covers workers nationwide.