After six months of negotiations, wireless workers at AT&T have reached a tentative contract agreement that raises base wages, includes adjustments for inflation, limits mandatory overtime, curtails the outsourcing of jobs to third-party authorized retailers, and adds privacy protections for call center representatives who are working from home.
The proposed new four-year contract covers technicians, call center customer support workers, and representatives at AT&T’s retail stores in 36 states in the Northeast, Midwest and West, and the District of Columbia.
“These workers provided essential services during the pandemic, putting themselves at risk to enable us to stay connected to one another,” said Communications Workers of America President Chris Shelton in a press release.
“They stayed united during contract negotiations and won an agreement that recognizes the importance of the work they do and shows what working people can achieve when they join together and demand respect.”
The agreement raises base wages by nearly 15% over the course of the contract, with additional adjustments made based on the Consumer Price Index to account for rising inflation. Mandatory overtime will be limited to 8 hours per week and time and a half will be paid for hours worked in excess of 8 in a day.
During negotiations in 2017, workers won guaranteed customer service work at U.S. call centers and job security protections that require AT&T to find them a new job if their call center or retail store closes. This new contract builds on those gains, increasing the call center volume guarantees, setting a minimum percentage for company-owned retail stores, and extending job security protections to all job titles covered by the agreement.
Other improvements include adding MLK Day as a recognized holiday, limits on the use of web cameras – an important privacy protection for call center representatives who are working from home, the addition of two weeks of paid parental leave, and new health care options.
“Companies are scrambling to raise wages and provide incentives in this tight job market, but we all know that when economic conditions change, wages and benefits can disappear,” said Lucia Coelho, an AT&T Mobility Retail Sales Consultant in Southbury, Conn., and a CWA Local 1298 Steward. “With our union and this contract, we have the security of knowing that our wages will continue to grow over the next four years. We have the ability to address issues like shifting our work to authorized retailers that directly impact us. We hope this contract will inspire even more workers to organize unions and raise standards for everyone.”
Details of the proposed contract are being provided to local leadership, and a ratification vote will be held once the members have an opportunity to review the details of the agreement.