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Nynex settlement.

Nynex settlement

The 1989 bargaining round in the telecommunications industry ended when Nynex Corp. settled with the Communications Workers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. (See Monthly Labor Review, November 1989, pp. 79-81, for terms of the settlements with the seven other regional companies and with American Telephone and Telegraph Co.) Nynex is the parent company of both the New York Telephone Co., which serves the State of New York, and the New England Telephone Co., which serves Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Communications Workers bargains for 40,000 workers at the New York Telephone Co., and the Electrical Workers bargains for 20,000 workers at the New England Telephone Co.

The settlements, like those at some of the other regional companies, were preceded by a work stoppage, which began on August 6 and ended on November 20 at New England Telephone, and on December 4 at New York Tele

The end of the stoppage came when the companies dropped their demand that employees pay part of health insurance premiums. The same issue generally dominated negotiations at the other regional companies, with the same result. However, some settlements-like those at New York Telephone and New England Telephone-require that employees switch to a preferred provider organization when it becomes available. If they do not do so, they become obligated for coinsurance payments, which amount to 20 percent of treatment costs for the Nynex employees. The two Nynex companies could also realize some savings from initiatives of new joint health care cost containment committees.

The settlements with both unions were almost identical. Terms included an immediate 3-percent wage increase and 1.5-percent increases in October 1990 and September 199 1. In addition, the contract provided for cost-of-living adjustments in October 1990 and September 1991 equal to 0.6 percent of an employee's basic weekly wage rate for each potential full or partial percentage-point increase between 2 percent and 5 percent in the BLS COnsumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) during the preceding 12 months ending in May.

Like the other settlements in the communications industry, the Nynex accords included a package of family-oriented provisions. Effective immediately, employees became eligible for unpaid leaves of absence of up to 1 year to care for newborn or adopted children. In 1990, employees will also be able to take up to 24 months of unpaid leave in a 10-year period to care for seriously disabled family members. In that same year, employees will be reimbursed up to $2,500 for adoption expenses of minor children, and will be able to deduct up to $4,800 from their pay on a tax-free basis for dependent care programs. In 1991, employees and other family members will be eligible for educational loans of $1,550 to 25,000 each year, up to a $100,000 maximum. In addition, the parties agreed to establish a joint committee to deal with problems of day care, elderly care, work schedules, and balancing work and family responsibilities.

Other benefit improvements included a 14-percent increase in pension rates effective in 1990, and an additional 6-percent increase for those eligible employees retiring before January 1, 1990. The company's contribution to the savings and security plan was increased from 50 percent to 60 percent of the employee's investment, effective in 1990. In that same year, Nynex will approve a network of hospitals and facilities for treatment of mental and nervous disorders, including chemical dependency treatment, on an inpatient basis, and in the following year, on an outpatient basis. In the last year of the contract, company payments to retirees' health care cost will range from $670 for employees age 65 or older with single coverage to $4,860 for employees under age 65 with family coverage.
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Title Annotation:Developments in Industrial Relations; Communications Workers of America, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers contract
Author:Cimini, Michael H.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Article Type:column
Date:Feb 1, 1990
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