CWA/AT&T Midwest Bargaining Report #1
Fighting Today…Focused on the Future!
Negotiations between CWA District 4 and AT&T Midwest kicked off yesterday, March 6th, 2018 in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
CWA District 4 Vice-President, Linda Hinton and AT&T Vice-President of Labor Relations, Randy White each delivered opening remarks.
The company expressed the need to address the changing marketplace. More customers are cutting the cord, not only in landlines but for video services as well. AT&T is now not only competing with cable companies such as Comcast and Verizon, but new media companies such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Customers are moving to more over the top (OTT) services, which they say is demonstrated in subscriber numbers for their services and those of competitors. Uverse and DirecTV are down, DirecTV Now and similar services such as Netflix and other web based subscription services are up.
The company stated that they pay a premium in the marketplace in both wages and benefits and must receive the same in return. They communicated the need to transition to a more market based health plan where everyone pays their “fair share”.
They further stated that they are proud to have the largest unionized full-time workforce in the USA but that workforce must be aligned with their needs and there must be work rules that allow customers to be served more quickly and efficiently, including;
· 1st call resolution
· Overtime when needed
· 1 truck roll for installation of services
· Better attendance from employees in all segments
· ESC must be addressed and that the employment security commitment was not designed to allow people to sit on the program for extended periods of time
Vice-President Hinton in her remarks, told AT&T that in many ways this is “the best of times and the worst of times” for AT&T and CWA members.
She explained that AT&T is poised for future growth with the ability to bundle wireless, broadband and video to our customers, thus reducing churn and retaining customers. With the core strengths of the network that our members build and maintain, expanding new technologies such as continued deployment of wired broadband on copper and fiber, First Net and 5G wireless, could create great opportunities for CWA members at AT&T to have a secure future.
Vice-President Hinton explained that our members should not have to come to work in fear of losing their jobs, worried that their call center might be closed due to offshoring or that their installation and repair work would be contracted out.
The chairman of AT&T, Randall Stevenson, said that the recently enacted tax cuts for corporations would result in an additional 1 billion in investment by AT&T, thus creating 7000 well-paying hardhat jobs. Shortly after this statement by Stevenson, AT&T announced the layoff 1500 employees nationwide, including 320 in CWA District 4.
Vice-President Hinton told AT&T that our priorities in this round of bargaining include:
· Job Security-Minimizing the use of contractors in all aspects of the business, especially when members are being surplused across the country. Our members can take calls, engineer, install and maintain services and a much higher level than a non-employee who has no concern for either the customer or the company.
· Healthcare-AT&T must maintain affordable, quality healthcare. Over the years CWA had tried to work with AT&T to be creative in finding solutions, but a deaf ear was found.
· The intent and meaning of our contract must not be reinterpreted. The company must honor the agreements that are made.
· AT&T must become a model employer when it comes to protecting retirees, future retirees and current employees.
· The company’s profits and tax cut windfalls must turn into jobs and employment security for CWA members.
· CWA members are ready and willing to meet the challenges of the new AT&T, but we need jobs, quality benefits and secure employment to be able to do so.
Vice President Hinton concluded by saying that we have a lot of work to do but CWA is ready to bring back an agreement that addresses our issues and that our bargaining team can recommend to our members.
Your 2018 CWA District 4 bargaining committee (Tina Culver, Kim Gallardo, Dan Frazier, Tim Strong, Greg Tennyson and Jay Walther) is ready to take on this challenge!
Your CWA District 4 Bargaining Committee