Answers to Some Commonly Asked Questions about the AT&T T.A.
March 8, 2017
These are brief answers to some of the questions that came up repeatedly in the questions submitted ahead of the contract explanation call. Many other topics were raised and will be covered on the call. Members will have the opportunity to ask additional questions.
Before you’re asked to vote on the tentative agreement, you will receive a detailed summary of the agreement, including specific information about health care costs.
Is the 2-hour notification for overtime still in place?
Is the Friday after Thanksgiving still a holiday?
Are there changes to night differentials or double time and a half on Sunday?
Has the temporary leave of absence (TLOA) changed?
What are we giving up?
There are no retrogressive givebacks for any employee.
Will the jobs returned to the U.S. go to contractors or union employees?
The 3,000 jobs will be returned to union positions in District 6 in either the AT&T Southwest contract or the AT&T Mobility contract.
Are there any changes to the pension?
The traditional pension bands were increased by 1% for each year of the agreement.
The lump sum pension option for the traditional plan will remain in effect for the life of the contract.
The BCB2 pension will continue to be funded for all 4 years of the proposed agreement. There will be no changes to the multipliers.
Please explain the modifications to JOG.
The existing 144 employees currently protected on the Job Offer Guarantee will remain in their current status for the life of the agreement.
Please explain the new 2 week parental time. Will women still get 6 weeks after delivery?
Two weeks paid leave for parent to bond with newborn or adopted child: first ever in AT&T contract. Women are still entitled to 6 weeks of pay after birth of a child.
What is job security for Prem Techs? How would a surplus affect us?
If a surplus of Premises Technicians were to occur, it would be conducted according to inverse seniority, meaning the most junior Premises Technicians would be surplussed first. Currently, it is management’s discretion who would be surplussed first.
The Premises Technician Layoff Table was increased from 48 months and more, to 96 months and more.
What are the changes to the health care plans besides the price?
The health care (Medical Plan) continues to be one of the best offered for any occupation for any company in the country. While the costs are going to increase over the 4-year agreement, those costs, percentage wise, are better than any other regional agreement that has been negotiated.
The CWA bargaining committee negotiated an option 2 medical plan that has significantly lower monthly contributions than the traditional medical plan that has been negotiated in each round of bargaining. Depending on an employee’s medical history and current health this may be a good fit for either the individual or a family.
3900 employees, including over 3600 Premises Technicians who were hired on or after January 1, 2015 will begin paying for their health care at current employee rates beginning on January 1, 2018. This will save both single employees and families considerable money over the life of the agreement.
If retiring during the new contract do you get the same health care price as members for the length of the contract? Will this contract extend medical/dental vision benefits to those that retire during the life of the contract like the last one did?
Yes to both questions.
How does this compare to other contracts reached in other Districts? Why aren’t we holding out like District 9?
It is impossible to compare the regional contracts item by item. In 1984 the regional contracts came into existence after a court decision forced the breakup of the old AT&T company. In the 33 years since then, each contract has been negotiated every 3 or 4 years. After that many rounds of negotiations, each contract has taken on a life of its own because of what Union members in those agreements directed their bargaining committees to negotiate for by filling out bargaining surveys and making bargaining proposals. There are many similarities but many differences.
District 9 currently is in difficult negotiations. They are not “holding out” just for the sake of holding out. The issues at their negotiating table are serious and they have not yet reached an agreement with the company. We in District 6 are supportive of District 9 CWA members in their quest to achieve a breakthrough in their negotiations.
How does wage increase compare with increase in health care costs?
There is dialogue taking place on social media that the increase in health care costs are greater than the wage raises. Nothing could be further from the truth. Before there is any increase in your health care premium, you will receive a 3.0% pay increase for all of 2017. On January 1, 2018, the monthly premium costs will remain at the current Individual expense of $105. The family costs will go from the current $225 to $264 a month. Let’s use the Premises Technician job classification as an example. The 3.0% raise will increase the currently weekly wage rate of $939.00 to $967.00. The $27 weekly increase multiplied by 4 weeks in a month is $108. That pays for the $39 increase in the monthly premium and still increases take home pay. And remember the Premises Technician will receive another pay increase on May 6, 2018. This not only typifies the Premises Technician gains in take home pay, but also is true by using the same math for the following job classifications.
Service Representative – increase in monthly pay for 2017 - $148
SS-1 Clerical – increase in monthly pay for 2017 - $126
It would be disingenuous to suggest that the employee will only have to pay for the monthly premium. Depending on the employee’s and/or the health of their family there could be other costs, like out of pocket expenses that could add to monthly health care costs.
If the contract is voted down, can we go and negotiate a better contract?
Should this tentative agreement not be ratified no one can truly know where future negotiations would end up. But there is at least two items that we could expect: 1. the bargaining committee was successful in negotiating a $1000 early signing bonus. No other regional agreement received any kind of signing bonus. We achieved this because of hard bargaining and the fact that we entered into early negotiations. And 2. What has been achieved in these negotiations will not be a springboard or starting point for further negotiations. We would in essence enter again into negotiations with nothing agreed on and starting over.
Why did other employees get taken care of in this contract but not the Premise Technicians?
The CWA Bargaining Committee negotiates for all job titles and all employees in the bargaining unit. The committee does not negotiate for only one job title or group of employees.
The facts are, there were more positive improvements and changes to the Premises Technician job classification and Appendix J contract language than all other job titles combined.