Bell Atlantic and CWA Reach Agreement on New Contracts
Employees Return to Work
August 11, 1998
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
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
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.
20 percent -- 5 percent effective Oct. 1, 1998, and a minimum of 15
percent effective July 1, 2000.
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.
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.