The Communications Workers of America (CWA) union said on Tuesday that AT&T’s planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA will create 96,000 additional jobs in the United States and bring another 5,000 others back from overseas. The union said Sprint and other opponents of the merger are “inappropriately” implying that the deal will actually result in job cuts and says such conclusions, which were reached in a Sprint-commissioned study, are the result of “sloppy research and the inability to distinguish between the change in the number of wireline and wireless jobs.” Read on for more. More →
Verizon employees will end a widely publicized strike on Tuesday and return to work. 45,000 Verizon employees went on strike on August 7th after failing to reach an agreement over new contract terms. The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers still have not reached an agreement with Verizon and the two sides are still negotiating, according to reports. In the meantime, the old contract remains in effect. “The strike was about the process,” Communications Workers of America president Larry Cohen said. “We are now convinced that a change to the process is possible. The risk of going back to work while negotiating this is worth it to us,” Cohen said, noting that it’s unlikely an agreement will be reached in the next month. Verizon spokesperson Rich Young told reporters that Verizon still wants to change union worker’s benefits as a result of a decline in wireline revenues.
After disagreements over new contracts, 45,000 Verizon workers, or roughly 25% of the company’s workforce, went on strike on August 7th. The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers refuse to pay a $100 monthly premium on their health benefits and do not agree with other contract terms, but now they may have no benefits at all. Verizon is threatening to pull all health benefits from any employees who are still striking on August 31st. Verizon has already filed a lawsuit against the Communications Workers of America accusing the union of harassment and sabotage, and it has been granted injunctions against picketers in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The unions aren’t happy: “We feel the company is exercising any means possible to make our members suffer in hopes of breaking our units,” president of CWA Local 2204 Chuck Simpson told reporters. Formal talks between the workers and Verizon are ongoing, and Verizon said it sent letters out to give strikers enough time to find alternative benefits.
Courts in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware have granted Verizon Communications injunctions against striking union workers who are picketing outside of its corporate offices and retail locations. Specifically, the injunctions are against members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Last week, Verizon filed lawsuits against the Communications Workers of America in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Massachusetts and accused the union workers of sabotage and harassment. 45,000 Verizon Communications employees, about 25% of the company’s workforce, went on strike on August 7th after the company failed to reach an agreement with labor unions over health benefit premiums. Managers are currently filling in for the strikers until a deal is reached, although at this point it appears negotiations could take a while. More →
Verizon Communications has filed lawsuits against the Communications Workers of America union in five states in an effort to limit picketing, the Associated Press reported. In separate filings, the company has accused picketers in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Delaware of harassment, sabotage and of blocking access to its facilities. Verizon got a court order to limit picketing in Pennsylvania on Monday, and a similar order was granted in Delaware on Wednesday. More than 45,000 unionized wireline employees at Verizon have walked out over premium increases for health benefits, and managers are currently filing in for the striking workers. More →
AT&T will pay T-Mobile $3 billion in cash, a $1 billion roaming agreement, and $2 billion in spectrum if the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice reject AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile. The agreement’s 15% breakup fee would shatter global records, Reuters said, noting that the 7.7% breakup cash agreement is already high. On Wednesday, AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson met with the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the acquisition. AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson has argued that there’s already plenty of competition in the U.S. wireless market and that the deal will actually create jobs. Similarly, the Communications Workers of America backs the deal and believes it will be a “victory for broadband proponents. AT&T’s competition isn’t so sure. Sprint’s CEO, Dan Hesse said the deal would “stifle innovation” and the carrier believes it would create a “vertically integrated duopoly.” Verizon has kept to itself, but did note that, if confirmed, the deal could be “an excuse for the government to insert itself into the marketplace.” More →
We’re still waiting for an official comment from the Communications Workers of America union but we’ve received a few tips this morning from people claiming to have seen AT&T workers organizing with picket signs. The CWA recently worked with AT&T to resolve contract disputes for AT&T Mobility workers, a story that was widely covered here. AT&T isn’t out of the woods with the union just yet however, as its contracts with wire-line workers in many regions are due to expire on April 4th. Negotiations began on February 24th and have thus far not resolved disputes primarily surrounding health care and other benefits. AT&T’s wire-line business is currently sliding and as such, workers are also seeking the ability to move into new jobs within AT&T as they are created.
This past Monday, workers voted to give the union authorization to call a strike so it is possible a strike is on. With contracts not set to expire for over a week however, the timing would certainly be a bit odd. A strike would affect approximately 90,000 workers according to the CWA.
Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
UPDATE: We’ve received word from the CWA — contract negotiations are indeed ongoing and a strike has not been called. There is some informational picketing and leafleting going on in various areas merely to show support for the ongoing negotiations.
It took exactly a month from the day we first scooped the possibility of an AT&T Mobility contractual issues that could have lead to a strike, but it looks like we have some good news to report. Crisis averted — or so it would appear. The CWA site has been posting bargaining reports regularly and yesterday evening the union issued a final report covering a tentative agreement between AT&T Mobility and the CWA union. Woo! As long as nothing crazy happens, it looks like it’s a done deal and workers can go back to doing their jobs without a potential strike looming overhead. Hit the jump for the full report and if you’re an AT&T employee, let us know how you feel about the tentative agreement in the comments section.
Thanks, Ryan and everyone else who sent this in!
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:
As unfortunate as it might be, it looks like our scoop this past Tuesday was indeed spot-on and AT&T Mobility reps could be preparing to strike as early as today. While often necessary, strikes are never a good thing and in almost all instances everyone involved hopes a strike can be avoided. Sometimes a good old fashioned picket sign-wielding march around HQ is inevitable however, and it’s looking more and more like that is the case for AT&T Mobility reps fighting for what they believe to more fair compensation, employment and working conditions.
Thanks for the image, Papi!