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SOUTHWESTERN BELL, CWA TENTATIVELY AGREE TO NEW THREE-YEAR LABOR CONTRACT

 SOUTHWESTERN BELL, CWA TENTATIVELY AGREE
 TO NEW THREE-YEAR LABOR CONTRACT
 ST. LOUIS, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwestern Bell Telephone and District 6 of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) agreed Saturday, Aug. 8, to a new three-year contract that includes wage increases averaging 12.3 percent over three years and payments based on the performance of the holding company's stock price.
 The contract also initiates a company-union partnership called "The Strategic Alliance: Gateway to the 21st Century," which expands the union's role in human resources issues affecting its members.
 "This is a fair contract with real gains in achieving job security, equal pay for equal work and stronger union participation in issues that affect our members," said Vic Crawley, vice president of District 6 of the CWA.
 "The agreement recognizes that the company succeeds because of the caliber of our employees. The CWA intends to go forward as a partner working with the company to find creative solutions to the tough challenges we face."
 Commenting on contract negotiations, Gary Lucas, assistant vice president of labor relations and human resources for Southwestern Bell, said, "From the beginning, our discussions took place on a positive basis as a result of the no strike/no lockout agreement reached in June. This new agreement is proof that the bargaining process can work to satisfy the mutual interests of employees and the company without the threat of economic sanctions hanging over our heads."
 Lucas noted the agreement "lets everybody win. It recognizes employees' needs and their importance to the success of our business. It gives Southwestern Bell Telephone the flexibility we need to guide a company that's facing increasing competition and other changes at every turn. And our customers win, since they'll continue getting good service without interruption."
 The tentative agreement was reached late Saturday night before the midnight deadline expired.
 It must be ratified by the CWA's 38,500 members in Southwestern Bell's five states: Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. The ratification deadline is Sept. 14.
 Included in the 12.3 percent average wage increase are a number of job upgrades and special pay adjustments.
 It also equalizes pay between employees working in small, medium and large cities. All Schedule III Exchanges, which include about 500 small communities, will be reclassified to Schedule II Exchanges on Feb. 6 1994. On Feb. 5, 1995, Schedule II Exchanges, which include about 36 medium-size cities, will be reclassified as Schedule I Exchanges, which include major metro areas. The upgrades will increase wages and pension benefits for about 10,000 employees in those Schedule II and III Exchanges.
 Employees working in Schedule I Exchanges before Feb. 5, 1995, will be granted supplemental days off with pay: five days in 1993, four days in 1994 and three days in 1995.
 A new "Success Sharing Plan" will recognize nonmanagement employees' contributions to the company and is designed to give them a stronger sense of ownership in the company. This additional compensation linked to annual increases in SBC stock price could average about $200 to $300 per employee annually.
 Recognizing the importance of cooperative union-management relations, the new contract inaugurates "The Strategic Alliance: Gateway to the 21st Century." This is an effort to enhance the company's competitiveness, increase union participation in work place issues and maximize employees' job satisfaction.
 Joint company and union problem-solving teams will address work place issues such as safety, ergonomics, monitoring, testing, training, sales quotas, overtime and the introduction of new technology.
 On family care issues, the company agreed to assist employees in paying expenses incurred in adopting a child. Southwestern Bell will reimburse full-time employees with at least six months of service up to $2,000 per adopted child for agency, legal, court, foreign adoption and temporary child care fees.
 For employees who take unpaid leave to care for newborn or adopted children, the pact extends medical, dental and vision care coverage another six months for a total of 12 months, effective Jan. 1, 1993. The first six months, the company pays for the benefit coverage and the second six months the company pays half and the employee pays half.
 Under medical care, the contract implements a managed mental health and chemical dependency program to cover all inpatient mental health care, inpatient and outpatient chemical dependency treatment and outpatient mental health care delivered by a psychiatrist.
 It calls for slight increases in copays and deductibles associated with the CustomCare medical plan, and establishes a hospital admission charge of $30. CustomCare is a managed care network established five years ago to hold down heath care costs. Effective Jan. 1, 1994, and annually thereafter, copays and deductibles will be adjusted by 50 percent of the change in the Consumer Price Index for medical costs.
 The contract also includes improvements in dental and vision care coverage and pension benefits and establishes employee-paid long-term care for employees and their families.
 As for job security, the contract incorporates a June 1992 agreement between the CWA and Southwestern Bell Telephone to increase jobs available to surplus employees.
 This agreement marks the third successful negotiation between Southwestern Bell Telephone and the CWA since the company was divested from AT&T in 1984. The other two were in 1986 and 1989.
 Southwestern Bell Telephone is a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwestern Bell Corporation (NYSE: SBC) and provides telecommunications services to more than 9.6 million customers in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
 -0- 8/10/92
 /CONTACT: Sherry Smith, Southwestern Bell Telephone, 314-247-6771/
 (SBC) CO: Southwestern Bell Telephone, Communications Workers of America ST: Missouri IN: TLS SU:


TS -- NY001 -- 8326 08/10/92 06:08 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 10, 1992
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