March 21, 2017 – Today the IBEW System Council T-3 (IBEW SCT-3) and AT&T agreed to begin “early bargaining" to renegotiate their collective bargaining agreement that is set to expire on June 24, 2017. The agreement covers employees working for the company across the United States with the majority working in Illinois and Northwest Indiana. These negotiations will not affect those employees who joined AT&T as a result of the DIRECTV purchase who signed their first agreement with the company last year. Bargaining will officially open tomorrow March 22, 2017.
Since the start of the year some AT&T managers had been misinforming employees that a surplus would be announced without knowing all the facts. When the company anticipates a workforce reduction company executives follow a process before numbers are released. Ironically, those managers can only speculate about the corporation’s final direction. The reasons for their misguided actions and their unfortunate need to toy with their employee’s emotions may never be known.
After numerous discussions involving Union leadership on March 15, 2017, the company announced a General SIPP would be offered to employees working as Customer Systems Technicians in Illinois and Northwest Indiana, and to Technical Associates and Technical Specialists in the North and South Suburban RCA’s. Those employees who wish to leave the payroll by accepting this General SIPP must submit their paperwork by Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 5:00 pm CST.
With that situation being averted the IBEW and AT&T agreed to bargain in good faith, in an attempt to reach an agreement during these “early” negotiations. There are several issues affecting both parties in the rapidly changing telecommunications industry. Job security, health care, wages and post-retirement benefits are always bargaining priorities.
We would like to thank our members who took the time to fill out their bargaining surveys. These will be challenging negotiations. All IBEW members should be prepared to do their part to support their bargaining team. Updates on bargaining will only be released when necessary and can be found on ibew21.org. Members of Local 21 can also sign up for email and text updates by visiting their website or liking their Facebook page.