August 7, 2012 / 1:25 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-AT&T says CWA calls for strike in East and West regions

Aug 7 (Reuters) - AT&T Inc said workers in California,
Nevada and Connecticut have begun strike action over labor
contracts even as the company reached a tentative agreement
covering nearly 22,000 workers in its South region.
    AT&T said on Tuesday it was unfortunate that local union
leaders had called for the strike after the company had reached
agreements with the Communications Workers of America CWA and
the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) in
other regions.
    The telecom carrier said the deal, which still needed to be
ratified by a union vote, would provide wage increases and
"modest" pension increases over three years for employees in
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi,
North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
    AT&T, whose total workforce is roughly 256,000, is looking
to trim worker benefits to cut costs in its wireline business,
which has declined rapidly in recent years. 
    But the union says AT&T is seeking too many concessions. In
particular, it says that AT&T wants to significantly increase
healthcare costs for workers.
    The company said on Tuesday it was not planning to cut
salaries or reduce benefits.
    AT&T last month agreed to a one-year extension for a labor
contract with the IBEW covering nearly 7,000 workers until June
22, 2013 without any changes to existing terms.
     Last August, AT&T's rival, Verizon Communications,
had to cope with a two-week strike after contracts expired for
45,000 workers.
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