AT&T Strike Update: CWA walks away from the table?

We just got a heads up that even though both parties agreed to an extension, the CWA just walked away from the bargaining table. Here’s a copy of an email sent out to AT&T employees, and also AT&T’s final offer to the CWA:

CWA walks away from Mobility Orange bargaining

Feb. 8, 2008 — Bargainers for the Communications Workers of America left the Mobility Orange bargaining table about 2:30 p.m. ET today, despite having requested and agreed to an extension of negotiations through 11:59 p.m. tonight, Sunday, Feb. 8, 2008.

The AT&T bargaining team remains available for discussions through the agreed-upon extension.

AT&T agreed to the extension based on assurances from the union that the parties were “close” to agreement.

AT&T is proud of this fair and reasonable offer during these difficult economic times when companies are cutting off 401(k)s, freezing salaries, and sometimes failing entirely, throwing employees out of work. Layoffs have surged — more than 600,000 last month alone — and unemployment levels are soaring. Many workers are voluntarily making sacrifices to help keep troubled companies afloat.

AT&T regrets that the union has chosen to walk away from the table.

Here is AT&T final offer to the CWA:

AT&T Mobility and Communications Workers of America – 2009 Orange Labor Negotiations
Highlights of the Company’s Last, Best and Final Offer
___________________________________________________________

Wages
•    Year 1         $850 Lump Sum Payment upon ratification by 2/27/09.
•    Year 2        Increases to bottom and top of wage tables of  2.25%.
•    Year 3        Increases to bottom and top of wage tables of  2.0%.
•    Year 4        Increases to bottom and top of wage tables of  2.0%.

•    Examples of the cumulative effect of these increases when combined with wage progressions are shown below:
o    The average Customer Service Representative I currently earning $24,440 per a year, and currently on step 8 of the wage progression table, will be earning $34,346 per year at the end of the contract.  This represents a total increase of approximately 40.5% over the life of the contract.
o    The average Retail Sales Consultant currently earning $26,364 (excluding commissions) per year, on Step 12, will be earning $31,902 (excluding commissions) at the end of the contract.  This represents a total increase of  approximately  21.0% over the life of the contract.

Pension/401k Plans

•    Current employees will maintain a 5% cash balance pension plan and continue eligibility under the existing 401k plan which includes an 80% match up to 6% of basic deferrals.
•    New hires after 1/1/10 will be eligible for a 100% match in the 401k up to 6% of basic deferrals.

New Titles
•    A new title, Client Service Specialist, will be created for use in call centers.  Employees currently in the Office of the President role will be moved into the new title.  The title will have a new table with a top wage rate equivalent to the current Customer Service Representative II and a new, improved start rate.  This breakthrough creates additional career opportunities in call centers.  Employees currently in the CSR I title moving to the new title will have the opportunity to move from a wage table with a current top of $621 per week to a new wage table with a top of $726 per week or approximately $5500 per year.
•    A new title, Workforce Administrator, will be created for use in consumer call centers.  Current employees in the workforce operations group holding the title of Clerk, CSR I or Administrative Assistant will be placed in the new title.  The title will use the same wage table as the current Administrative Assistant.  This will also create additional career opportunities in call centers.  Employees currently in the CSR I title moving to the new title will have the opportunity to move from a wage table with a current top of $621 per week to a new wage table with a top of $726 per week or approximately $5500 per year.  Employees currently in the Clerk title moving to the new title will have the opportunity to move from a wage table with a current top of $602 per week to a new wage table with a top of $726 per week or $6450 per year.
•    A new title, Wireless Technician, will be created.  Current Wireless Technician I and Wireless Technician II titles will be merged into the new title.  The current Wireless Technician II wage table will be used for this new title.  Employees currently in the Wireless Technician I title moving to the new title will have the opportunity to move from a wage table with a current top of approximately $1117 per week to a new wage table with a top of approximately $1304 per week or approximately $9700 per year.
•    Additionally, the Company committed to evaluate Customer Service Representative functions to determine if additional titles should be created in call centers.

JOB SECURITY

•    Surplus notifications for large groups will now be made 60 days in advance of a surplus, rather than 30 days.
•    Surplus employees will be given priority consideration for one year from the date of their surplus over external and internal candidates for vacancies they are qualified to fill.
•    A Joint Committee will be established when 40% of full time Retail Sales employees in a market fail to meet minimum sales performance requirements for the purpose of discussing possible causes and potential solutions.
•    Strengthened non-discrimination language in Article 15.
•    Net Credited Service (NCS) seniority tie breaker language added to determine who is most senior when two or more employees share the same NCS date.
•    The Union and the Company have agreed to jointly investigate the possibility of including AT&T Mobility employees in the Alliance.

Union-Management Relationship

•    Three Strategic Alliance Committees will be created to foster cooperation between the CWA and the Company.  Committees will address issues of interest to both parties on a scheduled basis.  One committee will be created for each of the following current CWA districts:
o    Districts 1/2/13
o    District 4
o    Districts 7 & 9
•    Renewed commitment regarding the collection of COPE deductions for the Union by the Company.

Scheduling-Retail

•    A new Retail scheduling tool will be piloted in ten locations during 1Q09 in an effort to provide realistic and usable schedules for employees

Safety

•    National Occupational Health and Safety Committee input may be used to develop employee training.

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