AT&T was unable to reach a settlement with the Communications Workers of America by the April 7th deadline to extend Four Core Wireline contracts. More than 40,000 employees will continue to work under the terms of the expired contract, however, as negotiations between the two parties continue. “The ongoing negotiation reflects the spirit of the longstanding relationship between the company and the union,” AT&T said. The carrier is looking to reduce worker benefits to cut costs in its wireline business, which has declined rapidly in recent years. The workers union has said that AT&T is seeking too many concessions, however, and instead wants the company to make adjustments to workers’ healthcare plans. The Communications Worker of America represents nearly 16% of AT&T’s 256,000 workers and it does possess the ability to call a strike if agreements on new contracts are not reached. AT&T’s press release follows below. More →
45,000 Verizon employees, or about 25% of the company’s workforce, continued their strike on Monday after the company failed to reach an agreement with labor unions, Bloomberg reported. It is the first strike in 11 years at Verizon and it could end up affecting customers waiting for new phone and web installations or phone support, though Verizon has 40,000 other employees on hand. The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers don’t want to pay monthly premiums on health benefits, but Verizon isn’t quite willing to spend more money on the unions as customers continue to opt for wireless service and internet entertainment in place of phone lines and cable TV. “It is clear that some of the existing contract provisions, negotiated initially when Verizon was under far less competitive pressure, are not in line with the economic realities of business today,” Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said Sunday. “In fact, under these contracts, benefit costs have risen consistently even as the wireline business has shrunk.” “We’re looking to bring our union more in line with what the rest of the workers pay,” Verizon spokesperson Rich Young said, noting that a majority of Verizon’s employees pay part of their health insurance premiums. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers manager Bill Huber sees it differently. “These aren’t negotiations, they’re an insult,” he said. “This is a clear attack on our unions.” More →
An Apple Store employee in San Francisco named Cory Moll has moved to create a union for himself and other Apple Store workers, Reuters is reporting. Moll hopes that such a union would provide workers with increased wages, better benefits, and a backing against Apple’s “unfair practices.” “The core issues definitely involve compensation, pay, benefits,” Moll, a thirty-year old who currently makes $14 per hour, told Reuters. It could all be a pipe dream for now: “There’s a lot of hesitation to want to speak about it,” Moll said. “I don’t think there’s 50 percent (support) in any one store but as people talk about it, we could get close in a couple of stores,” he added. Moll would need the majority of a store’s employees to be on board in order to create a union. More →
Cupertino based Apple, Inc. has filed for a trademark on the word “Places” in both the European Union and China, reports Patently Apple. The original filing was submitted on February 23rd and covers international classes 009, 041, 042, and 045. The first three classes cover a hodgepodge of computer services, software, and hardware. But class 045 pertains specifically to social networking services; “providing a social networking website; assisting in the locating of people using a global positioning system (GPS).” Apple has already dipped its toe in the social networking pool with its Ping music discovery service, which, as far as we can tell, no one uses. For the past few years, the company has used the “places” name in its iPhoto and iOS software, although, that doesn’t seem worthy of a full trademark filing. Any guesses?
Bloomberg is reporting that European Union antitrust regulators are preparing to launch an investigation aimed at concluding whether or not search giant Google “imposes exclusivity obligations on advertising partners.” Several companies, including Microsoft, are claiming that Google is preventing said partner-sites from placing ads for “competing services” on their websites. Foundem, a U.K. based price-comparison site, said Google was “stifling innovation” and that the company “should not be allowed to discriminate in favor of its own services.” In a written statement, Google explained: “There’s always going to be room for improvement and so we’ll be working with the commission to address any concerns.” The European Commission can levy fines of up to 10% of a company’s revenue for monopolistic practices. 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!