AT&T pays out 20% bonus to its front-line union employees

AT&T is giving a 20% bonus to its front-line union employees as they work to keep customers connected during the coronavirus pandemic. (Pixabay)

AT&T is paying a 20% bonus above the regular hourly base rate of pay to its front-line union employees, regardless of whether they are working from home or at their regular job locations.

AT&T said it is paying the bonus, which is effective Wednesday, to "show our appreciation for our front-line employees." Like other service provider employees, AT&T's front-line employees are working to keep services running during increased usage due to the coronavirus pandemic. More organizations are having their employees work from home, and school districts across the nation are using online learning due to students being home-bound.

The bonus will be included in the employees' regular rate-of-pay for purposes of calculating overtime rates, according to AT&T.

"We appreciate our employees’ commitment to our customers - and to each other – and we are grateful to them for the incredible work they are doing to support our country," AT&T said on its website. The bonus is no doubt good news for AT&T's union employees, and a good move by the telco at a stressful time.

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In October, AT&T came under fire from the Communications Workers of America for agreeing to activist investor Elliott Management's plan that included no more major acquisitions and a full review of AT&T's portfolio. At the time, Elliott Management owned own $3.4 billion in common stock and economic equivalents of AT&T. In January, the CWA was critical of AT&T trimming 4,040 jobs in the fourth quarter.

On Sunday, the CWA's bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with AT&T on a new four-year contract for AT&T West workers. The CWA AT&T West contract covers technicians, call center customer support workers, and administrative staff in California and Nevada. 

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Last week AT&T announced it was canceling its accelerated share repurchase agreement with Morgan Stanley to repurchase $4 billion worth of shares during the second quarter.