After Four-Day Strike, AT&T, CWA Reach Deal for Wage Hikes, Other Benefits



More than 20,000 Southeast AT&T workers will get bumps in pay, retirement savings enhancements and other benefits under a new tentative agreement reached following a four-day strike against the carrier.

The employees returned to work Wednesday as AT&T and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) reached a “handshake deal” on a new collective bargaining agreement.

The new five-year agreement includes wage increases of 13.25%, pension and 401(k) plan enhancements, improved job security and additional customer service positions, according to the CWA. There will be no increase in the health care cost-sharing percentage for the life of the contract and employees will have the ability to contribute to a health savings account via payroll deduction.

“This agreement provides substantial improvements for working people at AT&T Southeast,” said Richard Honeycutt, CWA District 3 vice president. “The strike showed AT&T that our members were united. Once the company returned to the table with negotiators with decision-making authority, we were able to resolve the outstanding issues quickly.”

The CWA said additional details in the agreement will be provided to members along with the procedures for the ratification vote.

“We’re pleased to have reached a tentative agreement with Communications Workers of America District 3 in Southeast wireline contract negotiations,” said Jim Kimberly, AT&T spokesman. “We’ve been committed throughout this process to reaching a fair agreement. Out of respect for the union, we are not commenting on terms of the agreement in principle until union leadership has had an opportunity to share details with members.”

The strike involved technicians, customer service representatives and others who install, maintain and support AT&T’s residential and business wireline telecommunications network in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Last month, the workers voted to authorize a strike if necessary.

The CWA said this was the largest private sector strike in the south in a decade. The workers’ contract expired on Aug. 3.

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