AT&T, CWA reach tentative wireline labor agreement

AT&T (NYSE: T) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) have hammered out tentative agreements covering nearly 17,000 wireline employees in the Midwest.

These tentative agreements cover union employees that work for AT&T Midwest and AT&T Corp.

The AT&T Midwest contract covers about 12,000 employees in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, while the AT&T Corp. contract covers about 4,500 employees spread across the country.

Over the next few days, the agreements will be submitted to the union's membership for ratification votes.

The telco said that in order to respect the CWA union members, AT&T won't comment on details of the tentative agreements until they have been presented to them for a vote by their union leadership.

In April, AT&T and the CWA extended the contract between the CWA and AT&T's Midwest and Legacy AT&T workers to allow more time for negotiations between the two parties.

While reaching an agreement with the Midwest workers is positive, AT&T still has work to do in other regions. Negotiations with AT&T Southeast, covering 27,000 workers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, will begin this summer.

Negotiations between labor unions and telcos have been an ongoing and often tense issue in recent years.

In February, FairPoint Communications reached a deal with its union workers represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the CWA unions, ending a four-month strike.

CWA has been an outspoken critic of the wireline telcos.

The organization has also had its run-ins with Verizon, a telco it says has been turning its back on its wireline workforce as it increases its focus on its wireless business. CWA launched an initiative called "Where's my FiOS?" to urge Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) to bring the service to more cities. 

For more:
- see the release

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