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AT&T Scores Another Deal With Its Unionized Workers

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AT&T reached a tentative agreement with its largest union on new benefits for 40,000 employees in its wireless business, continuing a steady streak of deals the carrier to avoid employee strikes.

AT&T didn’t disclose details of the benefits agreement negotiated with the Communications Workers of America union, which still must be ratified by employees in coming days. Wages, pensions, and work rules are covered under separately negotiated contracts.

While competitor Verizon Communications suffered hits to its financial results and public image during a just-concluded seven week walk out by about 40,000 workers, AT&T said that it has reached five agreements, including today’s, covering 90,000 of its unionized workers in the past 12 months. The last major strike at AT&T occurred in 2012.

AT&T reached a new contract with 40,000 wireline workers in the Southwest and Midwest without incident last year. The company opened negotiations covering another 16,000 workers in California, Nevada and Connecticut in February. Those talks have continued even after the prior contract expired in April.

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Verizon suffered after 40,000 employees who work mainly servicing and installing older landline telephone and newer Fios Internet and cable TV offerings walked off the job on April 13. They returned to work on June 1, but replacement workers during the strike weren’t able to keep up the pace of new installations. CFO Fran Shammo said this week that the strike would cut into second quarter profits modestly as a result.