CenturyLink said it is confident that it will be able to work out a new labor agreement with wireline workers represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union in Florida.
Yet on Friday, the CWA's strike authorization vote was also approved. The company told FierceTelecom in an e-mail that it is working with the CWA to find a new solution.
CenturyLink and CWA Local 3176 have mutually agreed to extend the current labor contract and it remains in full force and effect. The company has proposed a new agreement to the union, but a vote has not yet occurred.
“It is our goal that we come to a mutually successful conclusion, as we have in the past,” said Mark Molzen, corporate communications issues manager for CenturyLink, in an e-mail to FierceTelecom.
“We value our customers and are committed to providing quality service to them,” Molzen added. “We will continue to work toward a solution. CenturyLink values our positive relationships with employees and the unions that represent them.”
One of the main concerns for CWA Local 3176 is job security. The union said Centurylink is “paving the way to outsource the jobs of its employees to contractors as they continue to do throughout the company."
“As they outsource to foreign contractors more Americans lose their jobs," the CWA chapter wrote on its website. “When technician jobs are contracted out you get substandard work from someone who is low paid, has no benefits and doesn’t truly care about your service. Why should they? As a contractor they have no job protections and they can be let go at any time."
Florida is just one of a number of states where CenturyLink and the CWA are negotiating new labor agreements. CWA is also negotiating a first contract for CenturyLink retail store workers in Texas, who are members of Local 6174.
Meanwhile, District 7 CWA workers in the legacy Qwest territory joined a tele-town hall call this week about a tentative contract. Local union leaders shared the contract explanation materials with members and conducted a ratification vote. The vote must be reported to the D7 office by noon MDT, June 16.
The tentative agreement, which was unanimously recommended by the bargaining committee, extends the current contract for three more years and provides for substantial wage increases, and other changes.