Windstream, CWA reach tentative agreement covering 250 workers in Kentucky

Windstream is the latest ILEC to carve out a tentative agreement with its union employees, this time with 250 members represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in Kentucky.

CWA said in a statement that the union's bargaining team was able to come to terms over various issues related to pensions, retirement and wage increases.

In the agreement, CWA and Windstream added language that current pension employees will have the option to freeze their Defined Benefit Pension and participate in the Windstream 401 (k) Plan.

Under that plan, employees would have to make a one-time company contribution of $5,000 and a 100 percent match on the first 3 percent of eligible (total) compensation plus a 50 percent match on the next 2 percent of eligible compensation.

Richard Honeycutt, CWA District 3 vice president, said in a statement that the bargaining team "was able to turn back the company's attack on pensions and retirement security and other giveback demands and achieve a tentative settlement that provides for wage increases and other improvements."

The CWA and Windstream also agreed on a three-part wage increase: upon ratification CWA employees would get a 2 percent increase retroactive to June 8, 2015; a 2 percent raise on June 8, 2016; and 2 percent more effective on June 8, 2017. Wage schedule 7 top hourly pay will be increased from $28.97 to $29.27 plus applicable general wage increase.

After an agreement is ratified with the CWA, Windstream said it will provide a $1,000 lump sum payment "to all employees to be paid as soon as practical."

Windstream's agreement with the CWA comes at what has been a busy time for the largest telcos and their unions.

Fellow ILEC AT&T (NYSE: T) just ratified a three-year agreement with the CWA covering 12,000 employees in the Midwest. The telco and CWA also signed an agreement for AT&T Corp., covering about 4,500 employees spread across the country.

Meanwhile, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and the CWA are working to negotiate a new three-year contract covering 38,000 employees that it says will offer wage increases during the period.

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