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AT&T Has Tentative Deal with Workers Who Went on Strike

AT&T has a tentative contract deal with about 17,000 unionized workers who rejected an earlier deal after they went out on strike in May.

The new deal, struck with the help of a federal mediator, covers workers in California and Nevada in AT&T’s traditional wired telephone and Internet business and its DirecTV unit. Tough talks are continuing with AT&T and a separate group of about 21,000 wireless workers in 36 states and Washington, D.C. who also walked out on the weekend strike in May.

The Communications Workers of America union, which represents most of the workers, said its local representatives would meet to discuss details of the new agreement. “Information is being sent to the membership and a ratification vote is being scheduled,” the union said, without disclosing details of what had changed from the earlier agreement that was voted down at the beginning of July.

AT&T (T) said the revised deal was reached after “extensive discussions between the company, the CWA, and a federal mediator,” but also declined to say what terms had changed.

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After over a year of negotiations, AT&T and the CWA thought they had a deal for a four-year contract for the 17,000 wireless workers that included wage hike totaling 11% over four years and some job security promises, while also increasing employees’ healthcare contributions to cover insurance premiums to 29% by 2020. But in a narrow and contentious vote, 53% of the workers said no.

The workers had already shown they were taking an aggressive stand in the negotiations when they walked out in May on a weekend labor strike, the first at AT&T since 2012. The strike by a total of nearly 40,000 workers forced AT&T to close hundreds of stores from Alaska to Michigan to Rhode Island.

Before that recent strike, AT&T had concluded a long string of successful deals with the CWA.