Bell Atlantic and IBEW in New England Reach Agreement on New Contracts
August 12, 1998
BOSTON -- Bell Atlantic and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in New England today announced a tentative agreement on new two-year contracts that improve wages, pensions and a variety of other benefits.
The new contracts cover more than 13,000 workers in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Bell Atlantic's current contracts with the IBEW were scheduled to expire on Aug. 8, but the union agreed to extend the agreements and have employees continue working while negotiations were ongoing.
Under the new contracts, wages will increase by up to 3.8 percent effective Aug. 9, 1998, and up to 4 percent effective Aug. 8, 1999. Pensions will increase by a minimum of 20 percent over the two-year life of the new agreement.
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 service standards, to be negotiated by the union and the company, are met.
Donald J. Sacco, executive vice president of Human Resources for Bell Atlantic, said, "The settlement recognizes that our union-represented employees -- who are dedicated, highly skilled and well-trained -- play a key role in our efforts to expand our business and ensure that we continue to care for our customers by providing them with outstanding service.
"Both sides bargained hard and in good faith," he added. "The result is a settlement that is fair to our employees, fair to our customers, fair to the company and in line with other recent settlements in our industry."
Sacco praised the negotiating teams for the company and the IBEW for the leadership they demonstrated during the bargaining process.
The union will submit the agreements to its members to be ratified within the next 20 days.
The company also will 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."
Other highlights of the contracts include:
- A 15 percent improvement in Income Protection Plan payments for surplus employees who elect to leave the company rather than accept a reassignment.
- Upgrades of employees in lower geographic wage zone areas as well as upgrades of certain clerical employees to a higher wage level.
- Continued funding by the company for the joint union/company Work and Family Dependent Care Fund.
- An average 9 percent increase in employee job transfer "expense and travel" time allowances.
Bell Atlantic and the Communications Workers of America yesterday announced tentative agreements on new two-year contracts, ending a two-day strike by CWA-represented employees. The company yesterday also reached agreement with the IBEW in upstate New York.
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.