AT&T’s CWA West employees vote to approve wireline labor agreement

Even with the best clients, be careful when you agree to their special contract clauses.

AT&T West and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) have voted to approve a four-year contract with the telco’s Pacific Bell and Nevada Bell subsidiaries, closing a chapter on what has been a challenging negotiation process.

The new contract covers 17,000 wireline and DirecTV employees in California and Nevada. The agreement was reached on July 14, after CWA-represented employees had narrowly failed to approve a prior tentative agreement that had been reached in June.

An agreement was reached after discussions between AT&T, the CWA and a federal mediator provided through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

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RELATED: AT&T, CWA West approve tentative labor agreement with mediator's help

CWA said on their website that members ratified the agreement by a margin of 58% to 42%. The union has notified the company of the results and will be working with AT&T on implementation.

Under the terms of this 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.

Getting to this point was anything but easy for AT&T and CWA. In May, AT&T wireline workers in California, Connecticut and Nevada joined their fellow wireless workforce in a three-day strike. Workers in that strike represented four different union contracts and included wireless workers in 36 states and D.C.; the wireline workers in California, Nevada and Connecticut; and DirecTV technicians in California and Nevada.

Separately, AT&T is still working out a new contact for CWA-represented employees.

The telco has continued to make progress with negotiating new wireline union contracts. Since 2015, AT&T has reached 30 fair labor agreements covering about 145,000 of its union-represented employees.