Labor agreement reached affecting 22,000+ workers

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — AT&T reports it has reached a new tentative agreement with the Communications Workers of America District 3 in wireline contract negotiations for AT&T Southeast (BellSouth Telecommunications).

The three-year agreement covers more than 22,000 wireline employees in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, and will be submitted to the CWA’s membership for a ratification vote in coming days.

The two sides returned to the bargaining table and reached the new agreement after employees failed to ratify a prior agreement that had been reached in August, according to AT&T.

The new agreement includes general wage increases in each year of the contract for most employees — 2.25 percent the first year, 2.75 percent the second year and 3 percent the third year. It includes a 1 percent pension band increase in each year of the contract for most employees. It will upgrade service technicians and outside plant technicians to a new wage scale.  It also expands to additional employees a guaranteed job offer provision that provides qualified surplused employees a guaranteed job opportunity with AT&T. It maintains one of the most robust health care plans in the nation, with increases in employee contributions.

On Aug. 17, AT&T wireline employees represented by the CWA ratified three-year contracts for the Midwest region and AT&T Corp. (CWA Telecommunications and Technology Office) collectively covering nearly 19,000 AT&T wireline employees. Employees also ratified on Sept. 28 two smaller contracts with the CWA covering AT&T Billing Southeast and Southeast Utility Operations, collectively covering about 400 AT&T wireline employees.

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