AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has secured a 4-year labor contract with 21,000 union workers in its wireless business that are members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
The new contract between AT&T and the CWA marks the end of an 11-month row between the company and its employees. The dispute even led to a 3-day strike during which hundreds of stores were closed. The employees who work at the company’s wireless division had been without a contract since February this year after the expiry of a previous contract. The new contract will facilitate 10 percent wage increments over the next four years once it is approved.
“This is a real breakthrough for protecting jobs and working conditions in the wireless industry. This is a tribute to the unity and militancy of our workers,” stated Bob Master, CWA’s Director of legislative/political and mobilization activities in New York.
The new contract will affect workers in 36 states and the 10 percent increase in wages means workers will be paid about $19.20 per hour. This means they will be among the small demography of retail workers in the U.S that are paid more than $15 per hour. The telecommunications firm has also agreed to provide a guarantee of customer service work in its call centers located within the U.S that will almost double the call volumes from the current figures.
AT&T has also promised that it will find alternative jobs to employees who lose their jobs due to the closure of its retail stores or call centers. CWA president Chris Shelton stated that tech workers, retail workers and call center representatives who work in big cities and small towns rallied themselves to put pressure on the company. Their aim was to push until they achieved their objectives of securing good jobs at AT&T.
Shelton also stated that the new contract is a testament to what employees and workers can achieve if they push towards a certain standard. The negotiations have been slow as AT&T has been trying to slash costs due to the slowing revenue in its wireless and wired businesses.
AT&T stock closed Thursday’s trading session at $37.74.