AT&T, union continue negotiations as contract expiration looms
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.