Doug on IP Comm – An independent voice on VoIP, telecom, and IP Communication

CWA responds to AT&T’s “Last, Best and Final” contract offer – but no strike

Posted on: May 14, 2009

Yesterday, CWA District 6 responded to AT&T’s “Last, best and Final Offer” with “Thanks, but no thanks.”  AT&T presented a package of over 100 pages of items, says the union, and sent out the news with the CWA local presidents out of town and out of pocket to being able to communicate with their membership.

Local CWA leadership is also not happy because many of the items are things which they haven’t seen before at the bargaining table and it came on the second day after face-to-face bargaining with AT&T had resumed.

According to the CWA District 6 release, AT&T is offering a 2 percent pay increase plus $500 lump some the first year, and then 2.25 percent pay increases in years 2 and 3.  The union wants a 4.5 percent pay increase in year one, 4.25 in year 2, and 4 percent in year three.

Health care, the big sticking point, picks up no ground either. AT&T is asking current employees pay $5 to $45.00 per month for health care, while new hires will pay up to 15 percent of the full premiums. By 2010, AT&T expects new hires to pay up to $321.00 per month.  Deductibles for new hires will run from $1,150 to $2,300 for in network care while current employees get $500 to $1,500 in-network.

The union report goes on to document many things left out of the current proposal but existed in the previous contract, including leaving out a discussion on retiree benefits.

So both sides have fired their rounds, but now what?

In theory, AT&T could lock out union workers since there is no contract agreement. It would be a public relations nightmare and not likely to win AT&T any favors with the Obama administration.  The union could go out on strike, but it seems like it isn’t ready to take that step yet.

The saga continues…

Source: CWA/AT&T Bargaining Report #60

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