Union workers approve new AT&T contract - Mobile World Live

Union workers approve new AT&T contract

16 JAN 2018

Union workers in AT&T’s wireless retail and customer call centre divisions approved a new four-year contract with the company, even as the union blasted AT&T’s decision to lay off employees in other segments.

The Communication Workers of America (CWA) reported 21,000 AT&T wireless workers across 36 states overwhelmingly approved the new contract following a vote in December 2017.

Included in the agreement is a 10 per cent pay rise for employees over the contract term, job security language guaranteeing workers whose store or call centre is closed a position elsewhere, and no increase in health insurance costs. The contract also guarantees an 80 per cent increase in the portion of customer service calls handled by CWA members, and shifts $2,500 from commission to base pay for retail workers to make wages more stable.

AT&T and CWA finally struck a deal after a year of negotiations and a retail strike which closed hundreds of stores for three day in May 2017. Dennis Trainor, a CWA district VP, said in a statement the agreement is proof unions give workers more bargaining power: “When working people have the freedom to join together and negotiate, they can use their power to increase job security and keep good jobs in our communities.”

Layoffs
The victory came as CWA took up a battle with AT&T on a different front, trying to prevent the planned layoffs of around 600 technicians and customer service representatives.

AT&T announced the layoffs to workers just after unveiling a $1,000 bonus for workers it said was tied to the passage of US tax reform.

In a statement to the Chicago Tribune in late 2017, AT&T said technology improvements were “driving higher efficiencies and there are some areas where demand for our legacy services continues to decline” so it’s adjusting its workforce accordingly. AT&T added it would work with impacted employees in an attempt to find them other jobs within the company.

Author

Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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