CWA and AT&T "very unlikely" to come to agreement before deadline

Special Report: The CWA AT&T contract negotiation saga
CWA exec board green-lights strike authorization

Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1298 president William F. Henderson does not expect agreement on a new contract with AT&T before the current one expires before midnight on Saturday. An AT&T spokesperson seemed to concur, according to a Friday article in the Republican-American.

Speaking to the newspaper, Henderson said it is "very unlikely" and "slim to none" that the two parties will be able to come to agreement with so many issues on the table, with health care and job security among the key sticking points. The union and AT&T have not agreed upon anything, he said.

Negotiations started Feb. 24 for 112,500 unionized workers nationwide, with 4,700 in Connecticut. No progress has been reported between the two parties since discussions began.

An AT&T spokesperson would not "characterize" what is happening at the discussions, but indicated the company expects the contract to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday night.

What happens after midnight? The next step for a CWA strike would require the union's executive board to authorize a strike and set a date for it to begin, but the union is also likely to turn up the public heat on AT&T through more protests at the phone company's facilities across the country. The last time these specific contracts were negotiated, AT&T union workers ended up striking for four days.

For more:
- Read the Republican-American (Waterbury, CT) piece here.

Related articles
CWA, AT&T 'Far from agreement' on contract negotiations
CWA members authorize AT&T strike if contract talks fail
CWA, AT&T disagree on use of "passed" in April 1 contract negotiations
AT&T union talks affecting 112,500 proceed
CWA stays visible in AT&T contract countdown