The IBEW and AT&T have agreed to a first contract for over 3,000 telecommunications workers in 14 states across the country.
| The IBEW reached a first contract with AT&T covering thousands of former DirecTV workers following AT&T’s purchase of the company. If the agreement is ratified, the IBEW will grow by nearly 3,000 new members.
The IBEW organized the former DirecTV workers this spring after AT&T purchased the company last year.
The three-year deal, which will be voted on in August, includes wage increases, signing bonuses, more generous health benefits, job security protections and provides pensions for many people who were ineligible for them previously.
“This is a wonderful day for the IBEW and organized labor because it shows the advantage of coming together on the job,” said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson. “But the real difference will be in the lives of our new brothers and sisters and the future they are creating for their families. It is great news and they have earned it.”
The IBEW’s existing contract with AT&T included a card check provision. The IBEW began organizing the nonunion workers 120 days after AT&T’s purchase was completed. First contract negotiations began on June 16.
While most first contract negotiations stretch out for months and sometimes years, Broadcasting and Telecommunications Department International Representative Kevin Curran said both parties had good reason to speed up the process.
“We wanted to make sure our new members had access to the better health care plan our existing members already have as soon as possible,” he said. “It was an accelerated schedule, but the negotiations were extensive and intense.”
Broadcasting and Telecommunications Director Martha Pultar said the contract will dramatically improve working conditions and is confident that the approval vote will be positive as well.
“The difference between their current benefits plan and this one is significant,” Pultar said. “They had high deductibles and high of out-of-pocket costs before. With their new plan, we've negotiated a deal that will make life better for thousands of families.”