Dear CWA Member,
As the Union’s elected Vice President for this district, I would like to provide you with some information about why I believe CWA members should vote yes on the tentative agreement we recently reached with AT&T.
I have been bargaining union contracts with AT&T for many years. After 15 months of bargaining – and while working with a federal mediator -- I am convinced that this is the best contract we can get.
Over these many months of bargaining, AT&T has not moved from its three key demands on health care costs, the scope of work and new hires.
We rejected AT&T’s proposals and pursued a strategy of mobilization, building support among elected officials and the public, grievance strikes and other actions to move the company. Despite our best efforts, that strategy hasn’t worked. We must continue to develop and work on these strategies for future fights.
Local leadership asked the bargaining team to bring back the best deal they could, to be submitted to the membership for a vote. That first tentative agreement was rejected by a vote of 53 to 47 percent, with many members not voting.
The overwhelming majority of our locals do not think that a strike is a viable option. Some of our mobilization actions and demonstrations have been inspiring. But a strike calls for a much deeper, long term commitment and I do not see support for that from most members.
After the first tentative contract agreement was turned down, we went back to bargaining with the company with the help of a federal mediator and we pressed the company again. In this new tentative agreement, we keep all the previously negotiated items, and we achieved additional improvements for DIRECTV members and customer service representatives.
Especially important, this agreement is retroactive to Oct. 1, 2016 for current members on a wage scale. That means that all members will receive an immediate bonus of as much as $1,900 without overtime calculated. If this agreement is voted down by the members, we will lose our 3 percent pay increase and our retroactive pay. We may lose other gains too.
These negotiations have been difficult, and I appreciate that this agreement does not contain everything that we wanted. I understand that some people are calling for a no vote but those who have been closest to the bargaining for 15 months, your elected bargaining team members, all recommend a yes vote on this agreement.
You will be receiving a ballot and settlement summary in the mail. Many members did not vote on the previous agreement. There are serious and significant financial consequences to voting down this agreement. Your vote is critical. Please take the time to vote. I urge you to vote yes on this tentative agreement.
If you do not receive a ballot by early next week, please contact your Local.
Tom Runnion, Vice President