AT&T wireline employees represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union in California and Nevada did not approve the latest tentative labor agreement, dealing the company a blow in its ongoing union negotiation process.
CWA members did not ratify the tentative agreement in June, which covers 17,000 workers at AT&T West. The union said in a statement that it notified “the company about the results and is working on next steps.”
Under the terms of the proposed four-year contract, AT&T would provide a series of pay raises, improvements in job security and retirement benefits, continued affordable healthcare, and other improvements for AT&T West and DirecTV West workers in California and Nevada. This was the first proposed contract for DirecTV workers since AT&T acquired the pay-TV operator.
Marty Richter, an AT&T spokesman, told Fierce Telecom in an e-mail that AT&T offered an agreement that provided a number of favorable benefits to CWA employees.
“It’s unfortunate that union members failed to ratify this very fair agreement, which included terms that would make our employees in the contract better off financially,” the spokesman said.
Richter added that AT&T is in contact with CWA leadership on finding a resolution.
“As we have throughout the process, we remain committed to working with the union to reach a fair agreement that will allow us to continue to provide solid union careers with wages and benefits that are among the best in the country, and we stand ready to return to the bargaining table to get that done as soon as possible,” Richter said.
While this is certainly a setback for AT&T, the telco has continued to make progress with negotiating new wireline union contracts. The service provider has reached 30 fair labor agreements since 2015, covering about 145,000 of its union-represented employees.
Still, tensions have continued between AT&T and union workers. AT&T wireline workers in California, Connecticut and Nevada represented joined their fellow wireless workforce in a three-day strike in May. Workers in that strike represent four different union contracts and include wireless workers in 36 states and D.C.; wireline workers in California, Nevada and Connecticut; and DirecTV technicians in California and Nevada.
Earlier, AT&T wireline technicians and call center employees in California and Nevada returned to work after walking off the job in protest of the company’s actions.