AT&T over the weekend announced reaching tentative pacts with a union in contract negotiations covering nearly 19,000 employees.
One contract with the Communications Workers of America covers the AT&T Midwest region and applies to roughly 13,000 employees in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, according to AT&T. An AT&T Corp. contract covers approximately 5,700 employees who work throughout the country.
"The three-year agreements include wage increases in each year and a modest pension increase," AT&T said. "Health care benefits remain among the best in the country."
AT&T and the CWA provided somewhat different figures on the number of employees covered under the tentative agreements.
The CWA said the tentative deal in the Midwest actually covers 15,000 workers. The tentative deal reached in District 4 "provides for wage increases, improvements in employment security and improvements in work and job issues, limits on forced overtime and changes to unfair attendance policies," the CWA said.
The pact was bittersweet. On Friday, the CWA's vice president for District 4, Seth Rosen, died in a drowning accident in North Carolina. Rosen, 55, was elected CWA vice president in 2005 and had been working over the past week to finalize the tentative deal in the Midwest, according to the CWA.
"The bargaining committee was determined to reach a fair tentative agreement to honor Rosen and his lifetime of work on behalf of CWA members," the union said.
The other AT&T contract, covering roughly 5,500 workers, will result in "real improvements in jobs, job security and pensions, in addition to wage gains," according to the CWA.
CWA's membership is expected to vote in the coming days on whether to ratify the labor contracts.
AT&T also noted it continues to negotiate with the CWA in the Southeast where a contract expires Aug. 4. Meanwhile, employees in the East and West regions are still protected under the terms of contracts that have expired while AT&T continues to bargain with the union.