AT&T, union con­tinue ne­go­ti­a­tions as con­tract ex­pi­ra­tion looms

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

FLORIDA: AT&T Inc. and the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Work­ers of Amer­ica con­tin­ued talks on a new la­bor con­tract as the cur­rent agree­ments cov­er­ing more than 24,000 em­ploy­ees in the south­east U.S. are set to ex­pire.

Com­pany and union of­fi­cials are still ne­go­ti­at­ing ahead of the ex­pi­ra­tion of con­tracts at 11:59 p.m. Satur­day night, spokes­men for both sides said. Bar­gain­ing be­gan in June, with the pri­mary con­tract cov­er­ing AT&T's land­line work­ers in Alabama, Florida, Ge­or­gia, Ken­tucky, Louisiana, Mis­sis­sippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Ten­nessee.

CWA lead­ers want con­ces­sions from the largest U.S. phone com­pany on job se­cu­rity, health-care costs and work­ing con­di­tions, in­clud­ing bet­ter poli­cies on forced overtime. On Fri­day, the union called on AT&T to "get se­ri­ous about bar­gain­ing a fair con­tract."

"We re­main con­fi­dent that both par­ties will work con­sci­en­tiously and in good faith to­ward a suit­able agree­ment," Marty Richter, a spokesman for AT&T, said Satur­day in an emailed state­ment. "Our em­ploy­ees in these con­tracts are very well com­pen­sated, and will con­tinue to be. We are not propos­ing to re­duce the wages of any em­ploy­ees in these con­tracts, and we re­main com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing great ben­e­fits."

While 95 per­cent of CWA's mem­bers voted to au­tho­rize lead­ers to call a strike, AT&T em­ploy­ees in other re­gions this year con­tin­ued to work with­out a con­tract while ne­go­ti­a­tions car­ried on. The CWA also is ne­go­ti­at­ing with Ver­i­zon Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc. on a new agree­ment cov­er­ing land­line em­ploy­ees in the eastern U.S. The Ver­i­zon em­ploy­ees have been work­ing with­out a con­tract since it ex­pired Aug. 1.

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