AT&T has said on Tuesday that AT&T Southeast (BellSouth Telecommunications) reached a handshake on a tentative agreement with the Communications Workers of America in contract negotiations.
AT&T also reached handshakes on tentative agreements with the CWA on two other smaller Southeast regional agreements covering AT&T Billing Southeast and Southeast Utility Operations.
Paperwork is being finalized. All three agreements will be submitted to the union’s membership for a ratification vote, and collectively cover more than 22,000 wireline employees in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
The three-year agreements include wage increases in each year and modest pension increases. Health care benefits remain among the best in the country.
The agreements come on the heels of tentative agreements AT&T reached on July 21 in contract negotiations for the AT&T Midwest region and AT&T Corp. (CWA Telecommunications and Technology Office), where contracts expired on April 7. The Midwest agreement covers more than 13,000 wireline employees in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The AT&T Corp. agreement covers about 5,700 wireline employees located throughout the country.
In addition, AT&T Midwest on July 13 announced an agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on a one-year contract extension covering nearly 7,000 wireline employees. Most of the IBEW employees covered under the contract are members of IBEW Local 21 and are in Illinois and northwestern Indiana; the rest are spread across the country.
In total AT&T has reached agreements covering nearly 48,000 wireline employees.
AT&T also announced that the Communications Workers of America have notified the company that wireline employees covered by the AT&T West and AT&T East contracts have initiated a strike. The contracts expired April 7. The West contract covers more than 17,000 wireline employees in California and Nevada, and the East contract covers more than 3,000 wireline employees in Connecticut.
AT&T said a strike is not in anyone’s best interest, and it’s unfortunate local union leaders in the West and East regions chose to take this action, especially considering we have already reached agreements with local CWA and IBEW leaders in other contracts where employees perform the same type of work.
“These employees are very well compensated, and they will continue to be. AT&T is not proposing to reduce the wages of any employees in these contracts, or to take away their benefits” , the company said in a statement.