AT&T Finalizes Deal With Communications Workers Of America

AT&T Inc. T has recently finalized a year-long pending deal with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in relation with AT&T Mobility Orange unit employees.

Following the announcement, shares of AT&T were up 1.15% to $36.90 on Jan 12.

Announced on Dec 13, 2017, the four-year contract covers more than 20,000 AT&T Mobility employees (in wireless retail, call center and tech segments) in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The deal also includes wage hikes, healthcare benefits, employment security for call center and retail sales employees, and retirement benefits comprising pension and savings plan). In fact, it is likely to set new industry standards for pay rates and job security.

Notably, the latest contract follows after 11 months of negotiations and public disputes between the company and workers. In May, thousands of CWA members held a three-day strike at several locations in New Jersey, including East Brunswick, Toms River and Oakhurst. The contract expires on Feb 12, 2021.

With the new agreement, AT&T reached 32 different labor agreements since 2015 covering about 165,000 employees. This, in turn, is expected to help the service provider strengthen relationship with the union and encourage employees to continue working with the company.

This is not the first time AT&T is trying to resolve issues with CWA.

Per a FierceTelecom report, AT&T and CWA approved a labor agreement related to CWA-represented former DirecTV employees in four states on Mar 6, 2017. The agreement covered 280 employees in Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico and Oregon.

Again, on Mar 3, 2017, AT&T and CWA reached a four-year (Apr 9, 2017 to Apr 10, 2021) tentative labor agreement with the company’s Southwest wireline workforce. This included 20,000 employees in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

Till then, AT&T had a total of 19 different labor agreements for the 2016-2017 period, covering more than 81,000 employees. This included 10 agreements covering nearly 7,800 former DirecTV employees. Between 2015 and 2016, AT&T successfully negotiated 25 labor contracts covering a total of 102,000 workers.

In December 2016, AT&T completed an agreement on a new contract covering 2,000 DirecTV call center workers.

Such labor negotiations help to avoid long labor strikes, which are otherwise common in the wireless industry.

Similar Labor Negotiations

In November 2017, Frontier Communications Corporation’s FTR workers represented by CWA union in West Virginia, Ashburn and Virginia extended their current contract till Mar 3, 2018.  The contract covers 1,600 CWA members and was originally set to expire on Nov 4.

In June 2017, CenturyLink Inc. CTL and CWA  agreed on an extension covering almost 25% of the company’s total workforce, spread across 13 states, including Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado. The company agreed to increase the annual pay from 2.5% to 3% while maintaining the existing pension and savings plan along with increasing employee contributions for health care in the deal.

Zacks Rank & Price Performance

AT&T carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

AT&T portrays an impressive price performance. In the past three months, shares of the company have rallied 1.9% compared with the industry’s gain of 1.0%.

A Key Pick

A better-ranked stock in the broader Computer and Technology sector is Facebook Inc FB carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Moreover, it has an impressive earnings record surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all of the last four quarters with an average beat of 14.02%.

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