Bell Atlantic and CWA Reach Agreement on New Contracts

Bell Atlantic and CWA Reach Agreement on New Contracts

Employees Return to Work

August 11, 1998


Steve Marcus

Susan Kraus


NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic and the Communications Workers of America announced today a tentative agreement on new two-year contracts, ending a two-day strike.

Donald J. Sacco, executive vice president of Human Resources for Bell
Atlantic, said, "The best news is that all our employees will be back on
the job and can focus on our primary mission, customer care. We apologize
for any inconvenience this work stoppage may have caused our customers."
He added, "This settlement meets our goals: It's fair to employees, fair
to customers, fair to the company, and in line with other recent
settlements in our industry. I'm grateful to both of our negotiating
teams and to Morty Bahr, CWA president, for the leadership they
demonstrated in reaching consensus on a variety of issues to put an end to
this strike."

Wages will increase by up to 3.8 percent effective Aug. 9, 1998, and up to 4 percent, effective Aug. 8, 1999. Pension increases will range from 11 percent to 20 percent.

The union will submit the agreements to its members to be ratified within the next 30 days. Contracts will cover more than 73,000 workers in 13 states and the District of Columbia. The previous contracts expired Aug. 8.

"The new agreements recognize new competitive realities," Sacco said, citing cash awards for union-represented employees based on customer care levels and company profits.

The company will also provide its union-represented employees with additional opportunities to participate in the company's growth -- similar to provisions in contracts the union has negotiated with other telecommunications companies.

Sacco said, "Since the start of the new Bell Atlantic, we have recognized the need to forge stronger partnerships with our unions to work together to expand our business in high-technology areas."

As part of the agreements, the company will immediately transfer certain work to union-represented employees now performed by contractors. The company retains the flexibility to use contractors to meet marketing and competitive needs, particularly where

the company does not have the requisite

Beginning in October 1998, customer account work in the Bell Atlantic
Plus megacenter will be transferred back to Bell Atlantic's unionized
customer service representatives at the telephone companies. Bell
Atlantic Plus will continue its telemarketing services at the megacenter.

The agreements extend an enhanced retirement program in New York that was
incorporated in the 1994 contract with NYNEX and the CWA. "This allows us
to complete this offer in a more orderly and efficient way. Extending the
program also puts the company in a much better position to match attrition
with productivity improvements," Sacco said.

The agreements also contain these other major provisions:

New York and New England

  • Union-represented employees will receive a $500 cash payment next
    month and an additional $400 in 1999. In addition, union-represented
    employees in certain bargaining units will receive lump sum payments of
    $700 each in 2000 and 2001 if customer car e standards, to be determined
    by the union and the company, are met.
  • Pensions will increase by
    20 percent -- 5 percent effective Oct. 1, 1998, and a minimum of 15
    percent effective July 1, 2000.
  • In New York, the enhanced
    retirement program, known as "6 & 6," was due to end on Aug. 8. It will
    be extended through Dec. 31, 1999, for currently eligible employees, who
    will leave in managed phases over the next six quarters. Eligible
    employees can also choose to remain with the company until Jan. 1, 2001,
    and receive improved pension benefits.

    Mid-Atlantic States

  • Union-represented employees will be eligible for corporate profit sharing awards based on a standard award of $400 in 1999 and $500 in 2000. Actual awards are based on the company's profits and can vary by up to 200 percent of the standard award.
  • Pensions will increase by 11 percent -- 4 percent on Oct. 1, 1998, 4 percent on Oct. 1, 1999, and 3 percent on July 1, 2000. In addition, a trial program under which employees can choose to take their pensions as a lump sum will be extended through

    December 2000.

  • There will be improvements in the administration of disability absence, changes in the company's policy concerning medical restrictions, and an extension of employment security commitments.

  • Vacation policies will be liberalized; and there will be policy
    changes in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia
    to encourage greater use of volunteers for overtime. In Pennsylvania,
    differential pay for late-hour tours will be increased, and a Saturday
    differential will be established.

    Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
    information industry. With more than 41 million telephone access lines
    and more than seven million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic
    companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data
    services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest
    publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also
    among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications
    markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.