AT&T announced on Sunday that it has brokered several tentative labor deals with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), which represents a large chunk of the company's technicians and installers.
The company said it had reached two tentative agreements with CWA District 4 in Midwest CWA wireline contract negotiations.
The Midwest agreement covers employees in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. A small agreement also was reached on the SBC Global Services/AT&T Corp.-COS contract, which covers some employees in Michigan.
The two four-year agreements collectively cover about 8,000 employees, and will be submitted to the union's membership for ratification votes in coming days.
AT&T also announced that it has reached two tentative agreements for CWA employees in AT&T Corporation wireline contract negotiations.
One of these agreements covers employees across the country, including the U.S. Virgin Islands. A small agreement also was reached on the AT&T Corp. Puerto Rico contract, which covers a handful of wireline employees in Puerto Rico. The two four-year "Legacy T units," including Legacy T in Puerto Rico, agreements collectively cover about 3,000 employees. Those deals will also be submitted to the CWA union for a membership vote in the coming days.
CWA Communications Director Beth Allen wrote in an email to FierceTelecom that she couldn't comment on the current contract offers from AT&T because CWA was still in the process of sharing information about the tentative agreements with its members.
Monday afternoon, CWA issued a press release that covered the tentative agreements. The new Midwest agreement provides for additional call center jobs and contains a commitment to discuss contracted out work, according to CWA's press release.
“I am incredibly proud of our AT&T Midwest bargaining teams and our members,” said CWA District 4 Vice President Linda L. Hinton, in a prepared statement. “We did not back down and our agreement reflects the priorities we brought to the bargaining table on jobs, health care and employment security."
As of Monday afternoon, voting on the agreements hadn't been scheduled.
“Our members have been fighting for this agreement for over a year,” said CWA Telecommunications and Technologies Vice President Lisa Bolton in a statement. “It was not easy, but because they continued to put pressure on the company through workplace actions and by engaging elected officials and the public we have been able to preserve jobs in AT&T’s Legacy T unit.”
Last month, AT&T said it would be cutting 1,800 jobs from its wireline division by August or September. The 1,800 job cuts across 24 states affect wireline technicians who fix customer issues, do new installs, and build out AT&T's fiber deployments.
As part of its 2015 merger with DirecTV, the Federal Communications Commission required that AT&T expand its deployment of its high-speed, fiber-optic broadband internet service to 12.5 million customer locations, as well as to E-rate eligible schools and libraries, by July of this year.
During an investor conference in June, AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan said that AT&T now has a large inventory of fiber-based assets that it can sell to, and that the build-out actually reached 14.5 million customer locations. Donovan said AT&T would continue to invest in fiber, "but we'll do it based on the incremental, economic case."